Chicago Bulls crush Spurs in much needed blow out victory

Chicago Bulls crush Spurs in much needed blow out victory

The Chicago Bulls, for one night, appear to be back in the circle. Chicago led by as many as 25 against the Spurs and had little problem doing whatever they wanted on both ends of the floor. After the game, Rose responded to questions about Thibodeau with full support saying the team would do anything for Thibs and none of the problems related to him.

The win started with Derrick Rose. He attacked the paint, taking most of his shots inside. He lowered his three point attempts, but still knocked down two of the four he did take to continue his trend of hot shooting beyond the arc.

The two days of rest may have really helped Rose in terms of what he was able to do physically, though the fact that San Antonio wasn't going under every screen daring him to shoot more probably didn't hurt either.

The Spurs mostly played Rose straight up, and Derrick straight up killed them for it. That's a great sign for Chicago, because Derrick showed when you don't respect him like a star player that he's capable of hurting you like a star player.

We'll see what happens the next time a team consistently plays under the pick or traps it a bit. Derrick hasn't had great answers for that recently, but didn't have to find them this game.

Beyond Derrick playing like a superstar and setting the tone on offense, he put his money where his mouth was on defense where he was very active both on his own man and in helping his teammates. Derrick Rose has a reputation as a poor defender from his first couple seasons.

Under Thibodeau, Rose had started to become one of the best defenders at the position in the league, but his reputation hadn't caught up to the work yet. We saw a glimpse of that guy yesterday.

Derrick proved he can do it for a night on two days rest. The challenge will be to come back and do it again tonight against Dallas, and to do it most nights throughout the season and playoffs. We know the Bulls have championship upside when everyone is dialed in, the question is can they get that level of play with consistency?

Starters shine

Jimmy Butler and Pau Gasol both had strong, efficient games. They combined for 29 points on just 15 shot attempts. Gasol had a great rebounding game against a pretty big San Antonio frontline, and the Bulls won the battle of the boards, something which they've struggled with recently.

Along with Derrick Rose living in the paint, the Bulls rebounding effort was one of the biggest positives of the game for Chicago. The Bulls had Taj Gibson play more aggressively with his defense and roaming in an attempt to limit Pau's defensive responsibilities.

Taj did a fine job of it defensively and really gave the Bulls a huge boost on that end even if it didn't really show in the box score. The result was Pau staying closer to the basket, getting rebounds and contesting shots he's better at contesting.

The Spurs didn't attack Pau as much as other teams did, and the Bulls found an answer for his lack of quickness for at least one night. When Noah comes back, I'd like to see the tandem of Taj/Gasol play with Dunleavy some to see how that lineup looks.

While the Bulls haven't been overly successful with Noah out in this recent stretch, I wouldn't mind seeing Noah come off the bench in his return for awhile [or even permanently if it goes well].

Tony Snell into the starting lineup

Kirk Hinrich had started in place of Mike Dunleavy the past couple of games. That was somewhat of a disaster. Snell replaced him last night and while he still shot the ball relatively poorly [0-6 from beyond the arc, and someone thought this guy was a shooter coming out of college?], he gave the Bulls a whole lot more of everything else.

He's longer, more active, better on the glass, and offers more defense than Hinrich at this point. Hinrich really has little left in the tank, and it'd be nice if the Bulls used him as an emergency player rather than a heavy rotation player.

That said, Tony Snell hasn't been consistent enough to like a whole lot more either, but he has definitely put together some solid play the past few games while getting more opportunity.

Nikola solid, but minutes limited by Nazr

Mirotic only played 15 minutes but gave the Bulls a really solid effort in those minutes. Thibodeau decided Chicago needed some toughness, so he gave Nazr Mohammed some minutes. I can't say I'm so fond of how that worked out.

Mohammed was the only player on the Bulls with a negative +/- at -6 in his nearly 10 minutes. Mirotic has been solid throughout the Bulls struggles and hasn't looked like the problem to me. His defense is a work in progress, but his effort is always there and he has frequently sparked the team with his offense be it on drives or shooting.

Hopefully the Bulls will discontinue the Nazr experiment and get Mirotic's minutes back up.

Doug McDermott finds the floor, with the scrubs

Well we answered the question about whether Doug McDermott was able to play. He came in with Cameron Bairstow. Given how awful Kirk Hinrich has been recently and how inconsistent Snell has been overall, it would have been nice to see Thibs just give him a shot in one of the past couple games.

As it stands, Dunleavy will likely return in the next couple games and any chance for McDermott to find any real minutes will have gone by the wayside. It looks like a dead year for him.

Overall, big win

The Bulls brought it on both ends of the floor. The crushed a quality team to bounce back from what has been a pretty rough stretch. They showed fans that they have what it takes to contend when they're at their best.

The question now is simply whether they can bring that "best" with any level of consistency.

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  • Mirotic needs to take a step back with his minutes. He's been a hot mess defensively. Teams were using him as a moving pick. He'll get it straightened out eventually.

  • In reply to bullshooter:

    Yea, I like Mirotic, just not as crazy as everyone else. He shows great effort but is still a ways away from being the 6th man like some act like he is. He will get back into a groove, just hope it is during the playoffs when it really only matters.

  • In reply to bullshooter:

    Apparently you and Thibs are on the same page, blaming the guy least responsible for our problems first if not foremost.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I just hope GarPax can trade Taj and get a decent return before the rest of the league figures out how overrated he is.

    Eddy Curry is well known as the worst rebounding big man in NBA history, with all due respect to Andrea Bargnani (who was actually worse).

    Career rebounding percentages:

    EC- 8.3 Off, 15.7 Def, 12.0 Tot
    TG- 10.9 Off, 17.7 Def, 14.4 Tot

    Bargnani is the worst rebounding big man EVER, with a career 15.1 DefReb%. Taj has a 14.9 DefReb% this season.

    Does any more need to be said? Not really, though I'm looking forward to the excuses we are about to read for Taj's laughingly bad rebounding.

    Brook Lopez is a laughable rebounder, but he has a career 16.5 DefReb%. Taj is at 14.9% this season.

    Yes, Taj's career rebounding numbers are barely better than Eddy Curry, Andrea Bargnani and Brook Lopez. This season, he's worse.

    If that doesn't say it all, if you still don't get it, you'll never get it.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    I think you are confusing rates and numbers, and don't really understand Thibs defensive system. Gibson's numbers are 25% better offensively and more than 10% overall better than Curry. That's a pretty big difference. He's also both playing next to the best rebounder in the game in Noah a lot of the time, and playing on the ball defense more often. His primary responsibility isn't rebounding.

    In Thibs system the 5 is more responsible for rebounding, at least most of the time. This is what Rose was alluding to the other night I think. Gasol is supposed to stay and protect the rim and rebound and he wasn't doing that very well during the losing streak . Take a look at Gasol's numbers, his RR is up over 10% from last year and over 20% above his career rate. Did he suddenly become a great rebounder or is it playing in Thibs system?

    If you want to fault Gibson for something, fault him for being a whiny bitch every time he doesn't agree with a call. His petulant 7 year old response has a real bad effect on the refs and I think he costs the team calls.

  • In reply to bullshooter:

    I agree with your logical points, sometimes we don't need stats anyways to make common sense conclusions, since anyone with a brain knows how much better Taj is than Eddie Curry, laughable stuff

  • In reply to Keep:

    This LMAO is for both Keep and bullshooter, apparently can't comprehend plain English.

    I never said Taj was better or worse than Eddy, ONLY that he's barely a better rebounder than Eddy was. Plain, simple facts show that to be the case, but you're both more than welcome to think what you want.

    I started working with advanced statistics before both of you were born (I'm guessing, unless you're older than 34).

    Nice try at making an excuse for Taj's horrible rebounding, blaming it on "Thibs's system", though. Funny, Boozer and Mirotic both have no problems rebounding next to Noah (and now Gasol), only Taj.

    Why is it that Mirotic and Boozer can defensive rebound in the 24% range or higher playing PF in Thibs' system?

    I would post the actual, factual numbers, but I'm not sure either of you would comprehend.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    I know lots and lots of Bulls fans are huge fanboys of Taj, though Bill Simmons summed him up best in part one of his "Highest NBA Trade Value" story:

    Taj Gibson: Our leading contender for 2015’s David West Award, given annually to the playoff guy who draws so many “He’s underrated!” comments that he becomes weirdly overrated.

    That is the perfect desciption of Taj this season.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    You are correct, I will not understand your stats and how you think Taj is so overrated. But the biggest reason is I don't trust your stats and trust my eyes and experts' eyes. Besides that, it is my opnion that these types of stats are not as important as you make them. The fact that you continue to throw out Mirotic stats when the guy has played in the NBA for 3 months just flaws your argument from the start, and I know you must leave out the stats that actually support Taj's development as a solid PF, but I know how stats' guys can basically make anything look like fool's gold.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    I get your point, and I was almost certainly the first guy to comment on Taj's decline in effort, defense and rebounding, last season if not sooner. However, he does clearly do more on defense than boozer or Mirotic and as a result gives up something in the rebounding department. Boozer gave up all defensive responsibilities in order to pad his rebound stats, and Mirotic while trying much harder is still going thru growing pains learning how to play defense in Thibs system. But in general I agree with you that Taj has probably bailed on defensive rebounding in order to get a head start in transition to offense, which is not really what you want from your PF.

    Taj clearly still has value to the team, but like Simmons said, he has become overrated for being underrated.

  • In reply to bullshooter:

    Love it bullshooter.. good stuff.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    wow that's what you got out of that comment. I love Nikola's game, and said I believe he will get better (Just not showing anything in recent past, which is obvious to anyone with a brain). Did I blame him? I'm sorrry, I'm not here to rag on basically every Bulls player like you do. Your'e a sorry ignorant fool. You make this forum a bitch fest and whine fest, congrats!

  • In reply to Keep:

    Never try to teach a pig to sing, it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

  • In reply to bullshooter:

    yes, you are correct, I waited back too long and couldn't handle it anymore, lol, prolly what he enjoys to see

  • In reply to bullshooter:

    Well, I see that the children have come out to play, sorry that you and your friends are too thin skinned to handle anyone who disagrees with anything you say.

    My comment(quite innocuous by the way) only referred to the fact that Thibs reaction to the Bulls problems of late has clearly been to reduce Mirotic's minutes, which seems odd when anyone with a brain can see how horrible Hangdog(make that Hinrich for the squeamish among you) is and to a lesser extent Snell. At least I' consistent. I don't change my mind everyday based on whether they won the last game or lost it. I'm sure that you guys put on your cheerleader outfits and pom poms and bought Niko jerseys after he went 6-6 from deep against Memphis.

    I'm not a blind pollyanna homer, I point out deficiencies in our players that are important to the goal of winning a championship, after all that's what everyone says this team is capable of doing. Whether you or anybody else wants to admit it or not, I've been right most of the time in my player evaluations, usually years ahead of the rest of the crowd.

  • In reply to Keep:

    I've listened to the pod for a couple years now and just started reading the blog so I must say "big ways " nicknames are soooooo lame , Hangdog? Krispy Kreme pansy? This is beyond childish and unfunny. It's not clever in the least and I have to scroll by quickly to avoid his posts now! I can't tell if this dudes trolling or maybe it's Dougs alter ego as a joke? Is it just me?

  • In reply to Beguiledanimal:

    "Apparently you and Thibs are on the same page, blaming the guy least responsible for our problems first if not foremost."

    That is my original comment that apparently set you guys off on your childish name calling ad hominem attack.

    Wow, what a horrible guy I am for saying such an awful thing. Now compare your responses. Pretty embarrassing for the whole lot of you. I guess we know what generation you guys are from.

  • In reply to Keep:

    "He's been a hot mess defensively." Your words not mine. Yet I make the forum a bitch fest and a whine fest. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

  • A good win for sure, but the Spurs are a team the Bulls match up with well because they don't have a great deal of athleticism. At this point I would say Washington is the biggest hurdle, with a big frontcourt, and high level of athleticism all around (Pierce being the exception of course). Once the Bulls figure out how to win that's the limit.

    In any case, it was nice to see Rose be aggressive (and effective) at both ends of the floor. This was the type of performance that gives one hope Rose can permanently return near to his old form. Attacking in the paint definitely opened up the floor for everyone else, and kept the offense flowing.

    The defensive effort was also solid for everyone, with good help defense and closing out on distance shooters. This again proves that Thibs has a system that works, as long as the players play within the system and with strong effort.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to BullsMan:

    I was going to post the same thing about the Spurs being a good matchup for the Bulls, and how I'd like to see the team play this well against the Wiz with their young athletic backcourt, and active frontcourt, but you beat me to it....Great minds think alike.

    Tony Snell is becoming more assertive, and deserves more playing time over even when Dunleavy returns from his injury.

    I still think the Bulls need to find a shooter. The Spurs chose to play man on man defense, leaving all sorts of open lanes and the low post available for the Bulls to capitalize on. Most of the teams the Bulls have lost to will pack it in the paint, and close those driving lanes.

    Taj played great, and he works well with Pau in the starting lineup. Thibs won't ask Noah to come off of the bench but a lineup change is necessary and maybe it would help Noah if his mins were limited with his bad knee.

    Don't give up on Mirotic folks... He's hitting the rookie wall and once he's played his way through it he'll be fine.

    The Bulls could really use Ray Allen about now. Word is he's looking to return to the NBA and the Bulls are really lacking in their outside shooting. Doug McDermott doesn't look to be the answer, and someone has to be able to space the floor as a 3 pt threat.

    Keep up the good games D. Rose. Him driving to the hole was a welcomed sight to see.

  • In reply to Michael Cunningham:

    Dunleavy is the shooter who spaces the floor, I don't think they need another pure shooter type.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Allen would be a good choice to replace Dunleavy off the bench in limited minutes. Allen also gives the team another weapon at the end of close games.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Wouldn't you rather have Ray Allen getting minutes instead of Snell and Hangdog.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Absolutely, although I have been somewhat pleased with Snell's minutes; he doesn't seem to be the total train wreck draft pick I think most of us considered him to be. I do agree that Kirk's effectiveness is pretty much at an end and he should NEVER get burn ahead of Brooks or even Moore!

  • In reply to Michael Cunningham:

    Lets not get carried away with Snell, he is still a pathetic excuse for an NBA player, can hit the broad side of a barn, a threat for a turnover everytime that he passes the ball or tries to put in on the floor.

    Due to his height, length and age, he just looks better than Hangdog who has become a Saturday Night Live caricature of himself this year, an absolute joke of a player who can barely get out of the way of his own shadow. Got to love that uncontested rebound that he fumbled out of bounds with both hands on the ball and no other player within ten feet of him.

    We are not the 76's, we should certainly have higher standards than this.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    He still has potential, BigWay. And he is cheap, on his rookie contract. Who could the team trade him to, and for what? He is better than at least 3 others on the team - maybe we should give it a while longer.

    Even the Bulls in title years had a couple of these guys, did they not? Gotta have 13 guys on the roster. We all know it was a mistake drafting him, but that is water over the dam.

  • In reply to BullsMan:

    Your right, I am not sure how much of this victory was the Bulls playing well and overcoming their inherent problems or the Spurs being a better matchup and laying an egg themselves.

    Obviously, Pop thought that their effort was simply non existent throughout the game. They really didn't try to attack the Krispy Kreme Pansey at all, in pick and roll or pick and pop or individually which allowed him to camp out at the rim and get boozer rebounds. In a playoff series they would obviously figure that out.

    It was a nice win, we certainly needed a morale boosting victory, but I certainly wouldn't go nuts and act like everything that was wrong yesterday is suddenly O.K. today, which is more or less what Doug's post sounds like. Dallas will certainly attack us differently, we'll see how we handle them.

  • rose was a different man last night. he brought the ball up the court and got the team into its offense with the right tempo. He does not have to go hard to the rim all night, but he does need to use his speed with the dribble as a weapon to set up the rest of the offense. defenses are so focused on him, that just a few dribbles with pace to either side of the court causes the defense to shift and opens up space and opportunities for other players. that was encouraging. and the defense looked like Bulls defense, led by Taj, Jimmy and Snell. Best news is that Butler played 28 minutes and Rose 27. The next few games should be interesting.

  • In reply to piggy7:

    Butler's minutes were only limited by the fact that he was in foul trouble the entire first half, otherwise he would have been in the mid to high 30's, Thibs didn't get him out in the 4rth until around the 4 minute mark.

  • We'll see how the Bulls look tonight vs the Mavs at their place. If they play even respectably that will be a good affirmation of last night's showing. If they get handled, then not so much. I'm still hoping for a Klank minor head injury i.e amnesia so he can forget about him being an NBA player just like the rest of us have.

    I see Tony Parker played only 21 minutes and Tim Duncan only 23. Still give the Bulls credit, but they did face the resting version or "Spurs Light."

    Side note: Klank with 26 substantial minutes and 1/5 with 4 fouls. Thibs you magnificent(as in amazingly stubborn and shortsighted) bastard. Personally I think Niko showed he can be an impact guy and some nights was not bad but an active positive presence on D. He sure as hell isn't getting the kind of consistent building his game and confidence minutes to be a post season threat nor will I blame him when he's not one due to Thib's mishandling. Nice win, but Thibs you still suck goat nads.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    And for the anal retentive among us I'm not so much referring to last night's game with Niko's handling, but just in general.

  • Last night was Exhibit A in terms of how regular season NBA games suck, for the most part. It seems that rarely do two quality teams play at a high level against each other in a regular season game. I'll take the win, but that game was boring. The Spurs may as well have been the Washington Generals last night, with as little fight as they had.

    I'll take the win, but let's not pretend we learned much about the Bulls last night.

  • In reply to bjb57:

    Pop totally agrees with you, and I am inclined to do so myself.

  • Wow, great win. The intensity, defense and rebounding was there and D.Rose set the tone.

    The players need to play. They need to provide max effort. If so, look out, this team can contend.

  • Good win last night.

    Rose was attacking and that was fun to see.
    Jimmy is still not right yet but played well overall.
    The Bigs: It is becoming clear that the Bulls need Gibson as the 2nd big to either Gasol or Noah for 4th Quarter for defensive and spacing purposes. The Gasol-Noah defensive pairing is not working.
    Snell is a mixed bag every game but he's getting better and I really like his length. Question is can he become Jimmy Butler lite.
    Hinrich is done - he's done done - like its over. Maybe move him to an assistant role.
    I need more Nikola in my life and so do the Bulls. He should be 20+ mins every game. Good things happen when he's in the game. I love his floor spacing and his ability to create his own shot has been a welcome surprise.

    Overall - Bulls still need one more piece. Need one more shooter and I dont know if Mike Dunleavy is that guy. If you can package a combo of Dunleavy, Hinrich, Snell, McDermott, 1st round picks and get a Kevin Martin or Aaron Afflalo, it will make us better off.

  • In reply to ripiceman:

    It shouldn't take all that to get either Afflalo or Martin. Trading McD for one of those guys would be crazy.

    Hinrich, Snell, Bairstow, Nazr, and a couple of 2nd rounders might buy Afflalo - depends on how many teams are after him. The Bulls can get him if they are not outbid.

    This may not happen because of the salaries, however. They will need Dunleavy and obviously Taj will not be traded with Noah's injuries. They might do it for Taj if they could also get back a decent big, but who would that be with their center already gone to Cleveland?

  • In reply to rustyw:

    The only way that anyone is giving us any player for any combination of Hangdog, Snell, Bairstow and Nazr, would be in a pure salary dump for them. I really doubt that Denver traded for Afflalo to salary dump him 6 months later. The Nets might give us Deron Williams, Joe Johnson or maybe even Brook Lopez for those guys but they don't make enough in aggregate to make a deal work. What about Bargniani or Stoudemire from the Knicks.

    Maybe the Knicks would have given us JR Smith for those guys, it would have saved them from having to use Shumpert as ransom. As much as I hate Smith, maybe the Bulls should have made that deal with the Knicks to pick up Shumpert for themselves, the Knicks didn't get anything of value in return, and we could have used Shumpert and the Ben Gordon fans would have orgasmed at the thought of getting Smith.

    In some ways Cleveland doing that deal and the Bulls doing nothing when they could likely have done something like that is just more of the same old same old Bulls management. Not being bold and going all in, doing whatever it takes to win even if it is only for one season.

    The Rose era is going to be over before we know it, heck this year could already be the last best chance to win a title.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    That suggests a trade that I never thought of. Taj, Bairstow, and the Bulls' 1st round pick for Afflalo and Mosgov. Too late now!

  • In reply to ripiceman:

    No matter what happens with the starting lineup, I believe that by the time the playoffs roll around Thibs will be closing with Noah and Gibson, assuming that they are both healthy. I could live with Gasol and Gibson starting, as long as the Krispy Kreme Pansey only plays the first 6 minutes before being replaced by Noah.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    C'mon, BigWay, Gasol just made All-star starter for the first time in his career! 20/10 with 2 blocks is not a bad game average for a guy making only $7 million per. This was a moneyball signing, and I like it. A couple of these signings can take a team from a contender to a title.

    You can't be so stuck on his D that you overlook all the positives. That is not balanced.

    Kirk is a different matter. He has nights when he is worth more than his roughly $3 million - only not nearly enough of them.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    Ask Nikola Vucecic if he thinks that the Krispy Kreme Pansey deserves to be the starting center on the team. Ask Nene and Gortat and see how hard they laugh in your face, or in Nene's case he might just punch you in the face. and I don't mean you in a personal way, I mean anyone who contends that Gasol deserves to be the starter over any of them. Allstar starters are nothing more than a fan popularity contest going to the guy with the best name recognition, thats why Kobe is starting despite having the worst season of his career.

    Just like boozer never was a 20/10 guy with the Bulls, neither is the KKP, he is averaging 18ppg and trending downward. He may be a bargain(even huge) for his price, but that doesn't mean that he should be given the starting position or finish games if it isn't in the best interest of the team. Just like everyone argued that boozers salary shouldn't be held against him, Gasol's relatively bargain price should play no role in deciding who plays, how much they play and when they play. That should be based solely on what is best for winning. On balance his defensive deficiencies are so overwhelming that his offensive contributions do not compensate in terms of winning. His salary is not a positive in this regard, it is irrelevant. This problem will only be magnified in the playoffs, thus his minutes need to be restricted to where they serve the team the best.

    We simply cannot stop anyone from doing anything whenever he is in the game, so if we want to win games at the end he cannot be on the floor. You can start him if you want, but he simply isn't physically capable of playing the entire quarter, just like Hangdog. Heck, even Thibs seems to have figured this out, taking the KKP out late in the first and third quarters last night for what seemed like the first time all season.

    My gut feeling has always been that the Bulls would be best served by starting and finishing with Noah and Gibson but I never believed that it was politically possible and most likely won't be until the final year of the KKP era. However, at some point, Thibs will put winning games at the end ahead of individual politics and finish games with Noah and Taj(again if they are ever both healthy at the same time).

    I believe that Noah would give up starting for the good of the team if he was asked, whereas Gasol would become even more of a 7 ft version of Hangdog, a big giant mope with a sophomoric prepubescent beard only adding to that image.

    I'm not stuck on his D per se, I'm stuck on winning and the value that D plays over O in winning, especially in the playoffs. Going into this season I had my fingers crossed that his D couldn't possibly be as bad as boozers, well apparently it is possible, and by displacing Noah from the center position in our defense, he may effectively be worse than boozer was.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    We seem to agree on most things lately, but the numbers simply show that you're wrong about Gortat and Vucevic dominating Gasol.

    Truth is, they aren't doing any more against the Bulls than they are against the rest of the league, and they are doing it on worse efficiency.

    per 36 min:
    MG vs CHI: 15.3 pts, (12.7 FGA, 1.20 pts/FGA), 11.0 reb, .526 FG, .537 TS%
    MG vs NBA: 14.9 pts, (11.8 FGA, 1.26 pts/FGA ), 9.9 reb, .547 FG, .570 TS%

    per 36 min:
    NV vs CHI: 23.9 pts (21.2 FGA, 1.13 pts/FGA), 11.0 reb, .543 FG, .539 TS%
    NV vs NBA: 19.9 pts (16.5 FGA, 1.21 pts/FGA), 11.6 reb, .528 FG, .556 TS%

    Gortat and Vucevic haven't been any better vs the Bulls than they have vs the rest of the league, in fact for the most part they've been less efficient vs Gasol/the Bulls.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    Very interesting analysis as usual, Don. However, I did note that together they score an extra 4.4 ppg against the Bulls. That will swing a lot of games! It would have bought Dallas a win last night.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    Vucevic gets an extra 4.0 points against the Bulls, but it takes him an extra 4.7 shots to get those 4.0 points. That's 4.7 shots someone else on the Magic would be taking, at least the Bulls are making Vucevic a less efficient scorer than he is against the rest of the league (.539 TS% vs the Bulls, .556 TS% overall).

    Same with Gortat, he's scoring an extra 0.4 points against the Bulls but it's taking him an extra 0.9 shots to get there. And he's much less efficient against the Bulls (.537 TS%) than he is overall (.570 TS%).

    At first glance, I figured BigWay was right, because it seems like Gortat and Vucevic each killed the Bulls this season so far. But it's a case of our eyes deceiving us, because obviously they've each posted below-average numbers against the Bulls.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    Interesting numbers, I'd mostly call it a draw at least without knowing how Gasol has faired against them vs his averages against the league.

    My point wasn't necessarily that they dominated him, although their teams did in recent matchups. It was more that those 3 guys, most especially Nene would probably laugh at the thought that Gasol is the starting center in the all star game, for them it would be a personal pride issue, viewing it as an affront to them.

  • That game was essentially how good they can be: Rose attacking the rim, getting to the line, dishing off to Butler, who knocks down shots and gets to the line himself. Gasol is a beast at both ends, even on the defensive end since Duncan is the one guy old and slow enough for him to keep up with. Gibson chipped in some nice offense without forcing it, also pulling down boards and getting some blocks. Aaron Brooks had 15 points off the bench. Hinrich blows and Thibs still played him 25 minutes. He poured in 2 points on 1-for-5 shooting and had 1 assist, barely contributing more than I did, but he did have 4 fouls. I can't believe I'm writing this but at this point, I'd much rather see Snell. Neither contributes anything offensively, but defensively, at least Snell is athletic enough to keep up with most NBA players and has the length to bother some wings.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    However, not as good as the Bulls can be with Noah and Dunleavy, but yes maybe with them out this is essentially how good they can be as you say.

  • In reply to Keep:

    and thinking about it again, Rose and Butler can be even better, so maybe I'm disagreeing now lol

  • In reply to Keep:

    I agree with your revised analysis - even minus Noah, those two can significantly improve.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    I know exactly what you mean about Snell. When I saw he was in the starting lineup last night, I was actually relieved. That just shows how far Hinrich has devolved as a player, when Snell in your starting lineup is the vastly better alternative.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Not sure that the Krispy Kreme Pansey was a beast on both ends, kind of hard to be a beast when you only take 6 shots.

    Offensively, he didn't do much other than hit those open jumpers(5-6) in the key area after Rose drew the defense in with his drives. Nothing wrong with that, it is exactly what we need to keep teams honest on Rose's drives. In fact, against any decent team, it is likely all that he will be able to provide us. He certainly isn't going to be a physical low post force against most playoff teams.

    While I agree with you about the Duncan matchup, Taj was given the primary(starting) assignment on Duncan with the Krispy Kreme Pansey covering Splitter, who isn't exactly a dynamic athlete or inside forces either.

    I think that we all(finally) agree on the Hangdog vs Snell issue. Snell nearly completely sucks on the offensive end, but he at least provides some length and athleticism on the defensive end even if he replaces Hangdogs pure stupidity with somnabulance.

    It absolutely sucks that the only we that we can get rid of Hangdog's minutes is to root for an injury because otherwise Thibs will continue to torture us and hurt the team with his blockheaded loyalty to a player who would be euthanized if he were a farm animal.

  • The win against the Spurs shows that when the Bulls go into another gear they are still a contender. I am as everyone is very concerned with Washington and now Cleveland, where they are overpower us on both front and back courts. So, having Noah at 100% will be necessary to compete against these teams and being able to win. Go Bulls!!!

  • Not overly thrilled at last night's victory. As others have stated, the Spurs are not very athletic. Bulls offense was still lousy in the first quarter and I kept wondering if a more atheltic team would have taken advantage of that and run up the score early as we have seen over the last few games.

    As bad as Snell is, I still would rather see him or anyone else over Hinrich in the starting lineup. The epitomy of Hinrich last night was when he tried to gather a loose rebound and, instead of securing it with no one around, bounced it off his leg out of bounds. He simply can't play anymore. His misses were way off target. Bulls management should work out a retirement settlement and send him on his way.

    And Nazr? Really?

  • In reply to Vic Nardozza:

    Totally agree, thats the second time in 2 games that Hangdog made that type of play. Watching him flop around on defense is actually comical. He looks like a fish out of water and a chicken with his head cut off, he just runs around constantly losing contact with his man, spinning madly then looking around trying to figure out where everybody is/went, then scrambling madly to find anybody to guard. It is really pathetic and I have no idea how Thibs can't see how pathetic that it actually is. Combine that with his complete uselessness on the offensive end and there simply is no reason for him to ever leave the bench other than mop up duty with Nazr.

  • Toni Snell made me proud. Even though he shot 0 of 6 from three, and still made some head scratching turnovers, this was IMO his best game by far that I've seen as a pro. He really looks at his best offensively when he's driving the lanes and his defense was superb. Also starting Snell at the 3 opened the door to start Butler back at the 2 where he looks a lot more comfortable.

    I actually thought it was a good idea to give Nazr Mohammed some PT. He may not do anything to impact the game, but because he was out there it kept Gasol at a reasonable 31 minutes. I think keeping Gasols minutes down is very important due in part to his age and trying to keep him fresh. Throughout the whole slump he's been looking tired and sluggish, but yesterday he played with some energy and was a beast on the boards.

    Speaking of boards even though Rose had an allstar game and the defense was there, I thought rebounding was the difference maker. Also E'Twaun Moore and hinrich should share minutes. I don't know if the Bulls made Hinrich some kind of "playing-time" promise with his contract, but they have to do something with him.

  • In reply to ajaychitown:

    C'mon man, the only way that Snell's game last night could make you proud was if he were your child and he has down's syndrome.

    He couldn't hit the side of a barn with his shot and was a Chris Berman highlight reel otherwise, a rumblin, stumblin and bumblin mess. The only positive is that he gives you a better option than Hangdog on defense, which given the absolute putridity of Hangdog isn't much of a threshold to overcome.

    Also, Snell was playing SG, not SF at least when Butler in the game. Butler was still playing/guarding the SF position, unless Leonard plays SG for the Spurs. That's why Butler got 2 fouls in the opening minutes and had to leave the game, then a 3rd immediately upon reentering in the second quarter, he couldn't seem to guard Leonard without fouling him.

    That's actually a question that I've been meaning to ask all season, who you got Bulls fans, Jimmy Butler or Leonard. My guess is that Bulls fans favor Butler, but NBA people go with Leonard. They both took their chances this offseason, turning down extentions to become free agents.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I would go with Leonard because to me he is more well rounded and polished. I still think Butler has the edge defensively but Leonard has the most upside and a freakishly long wingspan that could be put to good use.

    As for Snell I'm not saying he's some kind of savoir, but I just like to give credit where it's due. He is still not a good player to me but the effort was definitely there and that's more than I could say for him all season long. If they just limit his shot attempts and keep him focused on defense I think they could find some use for him. He has all the tools to be a good defender and yesterday was the 1st game for me at least where he showed flashes. Hinrich should only see court time with Bairstow, but I would actually prefer Bairstow get more playing time and Nazr less.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I don't think it's close. Butler is all hustle and heart, Leonard has just as much of those with a Finals MVP to prove it, plus freakish athleticism.

  • I agree that Hinrich is done. I think that playing Snell with Dunleavy out and McDermott down was always the best option for two reasons.

    First, Butler needs to stay at guard for offensive purposes. Part of the Bulls' ineffectiveness over the last several games also correlated with a drop in Butler's offensive performance. Some claimed it to be personal due to the bereavement time he had to take off and others questioned whether it was the league and refs catching up to him. But few have mentioned that it might be due to not having Dunleavy as a big 3 to also help defensively and pose an offensive threat from the 3 position when DRose or Jimmy go to the basket. Butler's slash and drive midrange game is better going against two guards. And the other person out there needs to be athletic and big enough to guard a three while also being an offensive threat which makes Hinrich completely wrong to be the person starting with Jimmy and DRose out there at the same time. Butler played well last night both offensively and defensively and would have been better if not for early foul trouble.

    Second, by adding a tall wing defender, it helps the defense. And defense is what the Bulls have been lacking. All the love for Mirotic has been mostly because of his offensive potential instead of his defense. Yes, I like his size and his hustle as well. But right now he is not a 6th man as others have mentioned. And his job is to hustle, rebound, give the other bigs a blow and be an offensive threat off the bench by hitting open threes. Although I hate to see how well Atlanta is doing now with Kyle Korver, Mirotic's main contribution has been a Korver-like contribution to the Bulls in being a consistent threat at hitting 3s.

    Remember the Memphis game, which was Mirotic's alleged coming out party where he hit all the 3s. People started talking about him playing the 3 position more. You can see that when he is playing smaller players and used in the pick and roll that he is slow to recover and play help defense. But it is not due to lack of effort. And if it involves heart and determination, he will get better. I think he is better playing with Noah if Noah is healthy because of Noah's excellent help defense and Noah's passing skills. Let Mirotic and Noah switch off on big men defensively if the pick and roll is being used with their men and follow Noah's lead on helping and recovering.

    Do I like that Mohammed got minutes instead of Mirotic? Of course not. Do I like that Thibs was sending a message to Mirotic and the whole team that being tough-minded defenders is still an important characteristic that this team must exhibit? Yes, I love that message. If DRose returns to a superstar level (and things look promising on that end), Gasol continues his offensive and rebounding performance and Butler can slash and consistently work the midrange while making all those free throws like he has, the Bulls have more than enough offense.

    What they need to be championship contenders is to have the right defensive combinations. And sending the message that tough-minded defense matters is definitely the right message to me. Finally, I hope that Snell, Mirotic, and McDermott continue to develop on the second team when Dunleavy returns. Taj is still the 6th man as he should be. And Brooks is the legitimate first guard off the bench. But the Bulls have serious questions after that. And I think the other three who should be the main bench players are Snell, Mirotic, and McDermott in that order. Hinrich and Moore are there for emergency situations and Moore should be way ahead of Hinrich. And if things work out this way, we can develop into the team we need to be with the big worry being Noah returning to the defensive anchor for the team. Still the Bulls changing their focus to being more tough-minded on defense with teams that have tough-minded bigs: Atlanta (Horford and Milsap) and Washington (Nene and Gortat) and to a much lesser extent Cleveland if you include Lebron and Tristan as tough bigs (but not Love).

    Heck I'm looking forward to seeing how the Bulls play the new Pistons with Drummond and Monroe down low. Other than Taj, do we have someone right now who will be a tough-minded defender or enforcer with Noah out? That really is the Bulls problem to me right now. Although you have to foul Drummond when he beasts the boards because he is a horrible foul shooter. But that is for the future. Let's just see if we can play Dallas tonight and get back at them for that horrible foul by Hinrich on Ellis that helped them beat us at home when we had that game. Also, I love to see DRose and Rondo go at it full blast.

  • Before the game, the general feeling was that this was an important game for the Bulls, let's see how they do. Then after they win in extremely convincing fashion, the general feeling is, well big deal, we match up well with the Spurs. Say what you want about the matchup or their lack of athleticism, but Spurs are the defending NBA champs and they were playing very well before last night. The Spurs limited their starters' minutes because A) That's what they do and B) The game was over by the end of the third quarter. With the Spurs facing a back-to-back, Pops conceded the game and rested his guys, but it's not like that was their plan going in.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    In one sense you are right, it was a nice feel good win, but one game no matter what doesn't fundamentally change anything, good or bad.

    Lets see how they do tonight, and over the next couple of weeks as they hit one of the hardest stretches of the season. They have fundamental issues to address, issues that can disappear for a game or two against the right opponent, or if you catch someone on a bad night.

    The 2 keys to this season are still going to be Rose returning to allstar if not MVP form and Noah somehow regaining enough health to be Noah and likely returning to playing center full time, with Gasol playing a secondary role to Noah in that regard.

    Rose is taking baby steps toward that goal, but he is still far from being consistently great. Hopefully he has it in him and he makes it there by the playoffs. I am less hopeful about Noah, he just doesn't look like he can get where he needs to be physically.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Yes, it really does come down to Rose playing at an All-Star type level, and Noah playing the way he has the last several years. Those were always going to be needed for the Bulls to win a championship, and they still are.

  • Since last nights game felt like it was a "good" matchup for the Bulls, (or maybe we got lucky and just caught the Spurs on a bad night) it got me started thinking about the best matchups for the Bulls in the playoffs.

    Basically short of the Bulls finishing #1 in the conference(which doesn't seem even remotely possible at this point unless Atlanta suffers major injury problems) my sense is the we would want the Cavs and the Wiz to finish 2nd and 3rd, with the Bulls and Toronto in the 4-5 hole.

    I see the Cavs and the Wiz as the toughest matchups for us, with Toronto and Atlanta being better matchups for us. That way we play the Raps in round one, Atlanta in round 2 and only have to play the winner of the Cavs/Wiz matchup in the ECF.

    Of course, we sort of got what we wanted last year, and that didn't work out very well for us, but we just didn't know how tough the Wiz really were, now we know. Neither Atlanta or Toronto will be an easy victory for the Bulls, I say 50/50 in both cases, but at least it gives us a shot at getting to the ECF, otherwise we might be out in the first round.

  • I don't know if Doug is going to post on a Saturday about this game.

    A few observations though: the Good Jimmy Butler when he plays guard just gives other guards a beat down with his bullying ways into the post and getting open for mid range J's by creating separation. He just abused Monta Ellis. Plus his handle is WAY improved and especially effective in the high post. And Derrick hitting threes yet again - maybe he'll prove us doubters wrong..?

    On the down side, Klank, I get tired of the same mantra of complaint no matter who the player is, but Kirk Hinrich yet another four point play opp fouling a three point shooter(even though he didn't touch the guy, but in today's NBA you have to keep some space and not at all lean forward). Yes Kirk shot well, but 4 fouls in 20 minutes and just dumb plays like jumping up and down with the ball for a travel? It's partly his inane plays and turnovers then his overall production that is infuriating.

    Also Derrick man is he turning the ball over he just looks bush at times. And yes Snell looks like an NBA player when he hits his shots, but his defensive anticipation is like that of an 80 year old. He just got roasted by Parsons whenever he chose to do so as in drive on him. And Noah much of the time around the basket appears cemented to the ground though late he did make some plays.

    One of my biggest concerns is Noah what is he shooting last night(?) for example 3-8 or .375. He for the most part can't finish or do anything around the basket which is where a lot of his/the value of a big comes in to play. People can say don't worry about Jo he'll come around health wise etc. Myself, I'm worried.

    The Bulls do well in certain match-ups S.A., Dallas, it will be interesting to see how they do next time against Washington and Atlanta not to mention upcoming games against G.S. and Houston. There's no denying however the effort appeared back, and I'm sensing from Derrick's latest locker room comments that he is tired of being pushed through the media by Pau and is now doing some pushing back. This tension could be actually just what Rose needs to get out of his on again off again funks and good for the team in general to get that "edge" back.

    Do I think Pau is smart enough to know what he's doing/the effect he's having with these spurring comments toward Derrick? After all those years with Phil Jackson, I wouldn't be surprised.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Side Note: In regards to last night's nationally televised game: What is it with Jeff Van Gundy's hard on for Bulls management? In regards to the latest criticism of his buddy and long time protege Tom Thibodeau, Jeff just unleashed a scorched earth barrage against the Bulls undermining head coaches dating back to Phil Jackson. Certainly some truth in those words, but such vitriol over clearly a personal resentment, wonder if anyone at ESPN gets a call from Reins(Jr.)/Gar/Pax/Dorf? Even though personally I agree there has been some meddling and unprofessional treatment of Bulls coaches under this regime. Sometimes with comedic "I'm all choked up" Vinny Del Negro and who could forget A Very Scott Skiles Christmas(firing).

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Those comments stood out to me as well but it was the truth and you can also throw Ron Adams in that category as well. Ron is working wonders with the Warriors, but he clearly was under appreciated by the Bulls management. I think Van Gundy is just overall pissed by how poorly the Bulls have handled their coaches over the years being a long time coach himself. He only said what everyone else already feels only he actually had the balls to come out and say it. Sometimes it feels like Gar/Pax/Dorf run the team like a bunch of bureaucrats.

  • While I'll take any win in a back to back, especially against quality teams like the Spurs and Mavs, it sure wasn't pretty last night especially in the second half. You had Hangdog and Taj competing for the most moronic foul award, Rose, KKP and just about everyone else competing for the turnover machine award, and Thibs as always competing with himself for the moronic matchup award.

    Well, I guess we know who Thibs blames for all the Bulls problems. Niko played 2 minutes last night while the POSdog and Snell played 52, and thats on a night when Noah only played 23. It was bad enough having Snell(he is not a SF) guard Parsons, Thibs even tried putting Hangdog on him for a few minutes. Where on earth anyone ever got the idea that midget can guard small forwards is beyond me, especially the particularly putrid version of himself that he is now.

    I guess that winning ugly is better than losing even uglier, so we're back to that. At this point, we can only continue to hope that Hangdog somehow falls off the team plane without a parachute and nobody even notices.

  • I saw a lot of intensity by the Bulls against Dallas, which was surprising given how many turnovers they had - many do to careless stupidity! Still, overall they played tough, wire to wire. Nice to see.

    They caught a couple of breaks by stupid Dallas fouls with the shot clock about to expire, especially at the end of the game.

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