Why do the Bulls struggle at home?

Chicago is 11-7 at home this season, a pretty pathetic mark for a great team. They also happen to be 14-4 on the road which is an elite road record for everyone. Beyond that, it doesn't appear to be a scheduling issue, but the Bulls have simply played much worse at home.

Home losses:
Cleveland
Boston (without Rondo)
Indiana
Dallas (thanks Kirk)
Golden State
Brooklyn
Utah

Road losses:
Portland (no Rose)
Sacramento (no Rose)
Denver (10 minutes of Rose)
Atlanta

The Bulls road losses were largely without their superstar and to good teams [the Kings were very hot back then before firing their coach and DMC going down then going all nutcase on the team again).

Their home losses are a mixed bag, but four of the losses were to teams the Bulls would be expected to flat out beat. Worse yet, it doesn't seem like Chicago even competed in a few of those games.

If you break it down like this:
Cleveland, Dallas, Golden Sate, and all four road losses are pretty easily explainable. Quality opponents, missing personnel tough situations.

Utah and Indiana losses somewhat make sense to me. These losses came following big, emotional wins for the team. Right before Utah the Bulls beat up on the Rockets in a game where they surged ahead at the end. Prior to the Indiana loss they had beat the Raptors on the road whom were leading the Eastern Conference at the time.

That leaves Brooklyn and Boston. Sometimes you simply don't have it, and maybe that's the case with these two games.

What is surprising and disappointing is Chicago's energy level at home. Many of these losses the Bulls energy level was downright pathetic. Typically the home team is energized by their crowd, but the crowd needs something to feed off of too.

The United Center isn't the loudest building in the NBA, but it's also not one of the arenas that sits half empty night after night or is ever filled with 1/3rd with fans for the opponent.

Why can't Chicago get things going at home consistently? At this point, I'll simply go with fluke ans small sample size especially given this more or less same core group of players has dominated at home in the past.

Either way, after one of the worst games of the season, maybe it's best the Bulls head out onto the road to play Washington.

Chicago won the first matchup against the Wizards in Washington last month, more or less controlling the game wire to wire. Derrick Rose had one of his best games of the season and definitely seems to get up to play against the other elite PGs of the NBA.

Hopefully a rematch against John Wall will bring out the best in Derrick as he's struggled mightily the past six games or so.

Also key for Chicago was Pau Gasol who did plenty down low against the Wizards. Jimmy Butler didn't fair so well and was generally outplayed by Bradley Beal. I don't know if Jimmy's yet at the Jordan level of score keeping against each opponent, but let's hope he has something special to bring in the rematch as well.

All in all, the Bulls are typically fantastic after losses. Tom Thibodeau, throughout his tenure, has always found a way to keep the team from going on big losing streaks. I'd suspect the Bulls find a way to win tonight.

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    Thanks for posting the Bulls losses. I didn't want to go through the schedule myself, but I did wonder what the teams the Bulls lost to had in common.

    Many of their home loses came early in the season and immediately after the circus trip which is never good for the home team. It's like the team had to adjust to the crowd, the stadium, and the home town feel again.

    The Cleveland loss had a lot to do with expectations that Cleveland and the Bulls were the two top teams in the East, so both teams was hyped for that game, and the Cavs came out victorious.

    I see similarities in the losses to Boston, Indiana, Atlanta, Sacramento and Utah. Each of those teams was considered underdogs at the time, they were missing a key player, and their replacement played big. Each of those teams also came with a good defensive plan against the Bulls, and the Bulls failed to make the necessary adjustments. The Bulls have trouble against young athletic teams that shoots, and rebounds well.

    I expect tonight's game to be much more competitive than the last time the two teams faced each other. Washington does have the starting 5 which matches up well with the Bulls. Look for the Wiz frontcourt to draw fouls and Bradley Beal have a big night. The Bulls really need for Joakim Noah to step his game up, and hopefully, Niko will have a good shooting night. It's going to be a close one. Bulls by 3.

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    In reply to Michael Cunningham:

    The home losses to bad teams are really disturbing. I think the Wizards are going to be up for some revenge tonight. I wouldn't be surprised if the Bulls get run out of the gym in the first quarter.

    I hope I am wrong, but I see the Bulls losing by double digits.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    There is a prophet among us....

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    In reply to Edward:

    Even a broken clock is right twice a day

  • I was wondering about this question as well. I think the early Boston and Indiana losses were just shocking where the Bulls just did not seem ready to compete. The more recent losses involving Brooklyn and Utah were symptoms of an ongoing problem where it seems the team is not taking teams seriously that it should be dusting off easily. Even recent wins against the Knicks and the Pacers involved late comebacks where Butler needed to be a hero.

    You are right that there may not be a sample size that is big enough yet. But otherwise you have to look at two people, the Coach and the star player. It is Thibs responsibility to get the team up and ready for teams that they should easily beat. Also, he is probably using Hinrich too much.

    Then there is Derrick. His shooting percentage is awful right now and you have captured that in a number of prior post He does seem to get up more for the star point guards: Curry, Lilliard, Wall, but even with some of those games he shot badly while making some great plays near the end.

    I am wondering if you know of how many games the Bulls have played where they have just clearly blown out the other team where starters could rest. I just don't remember a lot of those games. It seems they play to the level of the talent and sometimes they let lesser talented teams make it much harder for them to win and they sometimes even lose those games. They seem to be waiting on fourth quarter surges to take the game over. That has happened quite a bit. But sometimes it is too late for that. Other than injuries and not getting a consistent rotation, if you have to blame it on something, wouldn't you have to point a finger at the coach and another at the erratic shooting of the star player especially when at home and no superstar point guard to challenge him.

  • The Utah loss the other night is somewhat disturbing, especially due to the disparity in play, which was probably even worse than what the final score indicated. This team should not be getting crushed by anyone, especially a team with a losing record. The occasional 5-10 point loss at the hands of playoff caliber teams is understandable and expected, but a 20 point loss to friggin' Utah, at home? Really?

  • I think they just aren't getting up for certain games. They figure, "It's Utah, we're at home, if we just show up we should win." Meanwhile, Utah considers it a big game against a good opponent and brings their A game. It's the NBA, if you don't bring your A game every night, you can get beat by anyone. The Thibodeau Bulls used to bring their A game every night, this team doesn't, but I'm ok with that.

  • I think the United Center crowd just sucks. It's embarrassing. It's 100% full, but quiet. Nobody stands. Nobody yells.

    There are many arenas where crowds stand (AS, Golden state, OKC) for stretches of a games.

    Oh for the days of the old Chicago Stadium!

  • In reply to Granby:

    I agree 100% with this. I want to say Chicago is in the top 3 for ticket prices, and whenever that happens there is usually a correlation to the number of diehards that get left out of the building. The west coast fans are the best IMO, teams just like you mention especially Golden State. You just feel the energy. The crowd needs to be proactive, to spur on the team and it seems like the United Center crowd is more reactive than being a true 6-man. I also agree with Roman above, teams play better and bring more effort vs elite teams, so that really works two ways in some of the loses we are seeing.

  • Same story all season, Bulls play down to competition and get up for the tougher and more important games. I think many fans were actually asking for the Bulls to take it easy in the past few years, because we saw what going 110% every night did to them in the playoffs. Although this is a different and much better team with all the additions and eventually and All-star pg in Rose again, I think most fans like that they aren't going at it too hard every night and saving for the playoffs. This has been discussed often, and it sounds weird to ask for a team not to give full effort, but I honestly think it is just following in the path of the Spurs and Heat, not worrying as much about that 1 seed.

    I want the 1 seed, but only if it means not going too hard for it and being smart about when to go all out. I know many fans are going to bring up the 90's Bulls, and hell I used to as well. This is a different era, one where Lebron sits for 2 weeks and the Spurs take nights off, and guess what? They are the two teams that have been to the title round the most (Lebron's team and Spurs). So, I know it is blasphemy in Jordan's town (and yes I did watch the 90's Bulls plenty) but this is just the era of less minutes they way these guys are built and how much more athletic and strong NBA players are these days...it's all good Bulls fans, just stay healthy and then worry about things in the playoffs!

  • Yeah wins on the road with your "leader" shows you the potential of this Bulls team no doubt. And wins at home shows you.. the disturbing inconsistency in the play of this ball club.

    What is it the phrase(?) - " can't see the forest for the trees." Meaning someone too close to the situation as involved with all the details to see the bigger picture. Like fans immersed in a myriad dimensional NBA team.

    Pau Gasol and Jimmy Butler so far this season are two of the most entertaining offensive players the Bulls have had in some time. And, despite his recent streak of awful, Derrick Rose has also had stretches where he's been entertaining as hell as an all-star scorer. Aaron Brooks and Niko Mirotic also have been very entertaining offensive players to watch at times. OK so that's a lot of forest to be distracted by isn't it?

    Yet we often, too often, see a team that looks like it has no business being mentioned in terms of an NBA Finals team let alone champion. And many, many posters have recently voiced as much. So yes there has been a lot of fun and distracting forest to look at. But somebody needs to be the Lorax and speak for the trees.

    Yes that Dr. Suess reference was about as lame an analogy construct as it gets, but the point is still valid: Derrick Rose is killing this team with his often poor defense, abominable three point shooting which often kills momentum and makes other players I'm sure feel alienated, getting hardly anything in steals, and often a "leader" who let's other teams(Houston/Patrick Beverly for example) push him around. So blame the player or does the coach bear real responsibility also?

    Yes it's been a long while since the Bulls had a post player who often looks like an all-star and a SG offensive dynamo like Jimmy Buckets. Those attractions can be quite distracting. Still, if you're anybody outside of Chicago you know one thing: no team with it's (super)star(?) player shooting .397 from the field i.e sh*t is going anywhere near an NBA Finals. Of course two point range shooting .460 is nothing to write home about but is still not bad. Congrats you're counterbalancing awful threes with not bad. Not to mention three point klanks(sorry for the copyright infringement Kirk H.) as basketball fans know often lead to easy fast break baskets for the other team. And set a poor tome in laziness for the team.

    I'm going to shock the world and not bother needing stats to tell me that NO starter on an NBA championship team ever shot .262 from three on 5 heaves per game. If anything close to it in volume 5 attempts or percentage 26-28% I'll.. eat a liverwurst sandwich(insert alternate punishment here).

    Bottom line: with Derrick's dysfunctional play(and don't tell me you have jack up 5 threes a game to develop confidence/proficiency in that shot because that's bullshit) allowed to continue through a sizable portion of an NBA season somebody besides that player has to be held accountable. That would be the same dumb bastard who keeps starting in over half the games he's played in a 34 year old who shoots a .379 from the field including .398 from two point range on four attempts per game. A guy with a PER that is HALF of the other guy(Aaron Brooks) who gets way less playing time.

    In summation: your "elite" head coach Tom Thibodeau is screwing the pooch with this team's legit opportunity to meld into a dangerous, dangerous ECF(possibly beyond) candidate.

    Really when it come to the catastrophic impact of Derrick's awful percentages relative to his importance of the team and his defacto mirror image in Klank there is no other forest to remark upon. This blight of awfulness will in time defoliate this Bulls team into a barren wasteland. That's where current usage Derrick is leading us - an early exit with seething recriminations galore. Not good Thibsy. Not good.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    If Derrick is not able to regain even a modicum of decent mid-to-long range shooting, then this team is not going to the finals anyway. And as much as his poor shooting is currently affecting the team, Rose must figure his shit out if the Bulls have any chance of truly being elite.

    Sure, D-Rose can just start attacking the rim, but if the opposition knows that's his only legit move, then he becomes easier to defend, and won't draw enough defenders to open the court for everyone else. I believe Thibs realizes this, and knows the team's ultimate success depends on Derrick getting his groove back.

    Yeah, it sucks to watch, and is costing the team some wins...but unless Derrick can get back to a near all-star level, this team isn't competing for the championship anyway. And the one way to guarantee his shooting won't improve, is to have him stop trying.

  • In reply to BullsMan:

    OK, we all know Rose has a problem, or several. But Warrior is pointing out that this exposes another problem - coaching.

    That is, lack of it for individual players - Derrick.

    Plus mismanagement of the team talent. Too much Kirk and Dunleavy, even too much Butler and Gasol. Too little Mirotic and Brooks, maybe even too little Moore.

    I was glad to see Snell get more burn last might.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Like Bullsman says,

    I think Thibs knows that Rose should attack more and he's probably had discussions with Rose about this. However, Thibs knows he needs to give his superstar the green light for now. Rose needs to improve his 3 pt shooting slightly in order to open up the rest of his game. I think if he goes through a stretch shooting 33-35%, teams may start to go over screens again. I think that Rose can shoot 33-35% from 3 if the looks are good.

    But, I too, am getting annoying at the daily boxscores with 7 and 9 3's attempted by Rose. (Although that seems to have slowed a bit...)

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Different era, and he only made it to the finals once and never won, but Charles Barkley's career 3 point % is 26-27%. If the rest of Rose's game were up to par then the 3 point % wouldn't be such a big deal, especially if he keeps his attempts down to about 3 per game. Right now, his entire game is the problem, maybe eliminating the 3 point game would allow him to focus better on repairing the rest of his game.

    Unfortunately, when all you do for over 2 years is practice shooting jumpers, especially 3 pointers you end up convincing yourself that you are a great shooter, even when it is obvious to everyone else that you are not. Right now Rose is deluding himself, as he says after nearly every game that he is not worried because those are shots that I normally make, just didn't hit them tonight, got to keep taking them.

    My sense is that nothing is going to change until after the Bulls get spanked in the playoffs which might require some introspection next offseason.

  • I'm a huge Rose fan, but OMG, is he bad now. His usage is off the charts and his true shooting % is almost the worst among Eastern PGs! He is absolutely killing the Bulls right now. Aaron Brooks/Hinrich would probably add more wins than Rose right now - hate to say it!

    Making it worse, some of those guys at least play a little defense... Rose plays next to none.

    http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/12141574/nba-why-kyle-lowry-best-pg-east

  • In reply to Granby:

    I know this is only one stat, but good lord is it bad.

    Rose's usage needs to be reigned in.

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    The most disturbing thing is Drose not hustling, making sloppy plays, and NOT PLAYING GOOD DEFENSE!

  • In other news the Celtics traded recently acquired Brandon Wright for a future first round pick. Wright might have been an interesting pickup for the bulls, at least for those of us thinking about trading Taj.

    They are also about to trade Jeff Green for an expiring contract and another first round pick. As I said before when discussing a Green trade to the Bulls the Celtics are basically acquiring as many future firsts as they can. We certainly could have made a similar offer of useless salaries(hangdog, Snell, Dunleavy) and a future first thus adding Green to our starting lineup without giving up Taj. Certainly our future firsts would have been worth dealing for Green, even if he didn't look all that great against the Bulls recently.

    Well, hopefully, maybe they have something better up their sleeves.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Green would have been a great fit for the Bulls replacing Dunleavy in the starting lineup. I don't think the Bulls could have made the salaries work though as Green makes $9.5M and Klank, Snell and Dunleavy combined don't make that much. Aflalo at $7.5M would be more workable but Denver might insist on Taj rather than a 1st round pick.

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    In reply to Zorb:

    Jeff green or Gerald green would both be perfect for the Bulls and may not cost too much ( asset wise )

    Hopefully after the beating the Bulls take tonight, gar pax will wake up and realize we need some more help on the wings.

    Starting Kirk is just a recipe for getting blown out

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Boston Celtics send Jeff Green to Memphis Grizzlies.

  • In reply to Ruff:

    Bummer. There has been a flurry of moves and I want to see the Bulls get in on it, but GarPax looks like he's going to stand pat with this lineup. I don't think you can win a championship with heavy doses of Dunleavy and Hinrich no matter how well Rose plays but the Bulls seem pretty intent on finding out.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Worse yet is heavy doses of Hangdog or Dunleavy with Gasol. You might be able to overcome one defensive liability(as they did with the bozohole) but 2 or 3 at once isn't possible.

    Thibs should never be allowed to play more than one of the OSW(old, slow, white) crew at a time. If he does, he should be fined each and everytime.

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    In reply to BigWay:

    Well that's going to be virtually impossible since most nights he's starting at least two or them.

    I don't know how Gar Pax can't see this team is championship or bust and make the appropriate moves to augment the teams chances.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Hopefully. Cuz the Bulls are light one starter at the wing! It sure seems they will need that guy for a real title run.

  • Bulls just lost to the Wizards and dropped their second in a row. I think Rose played much better. But Butler never really got started and Noah looks really lackluster. It reminded me of the playoffs last year without him getting off the ground and Nene and Gortat making the defensive player of the year look bad.

    Also, when the Bulls went small they kept trying to put one of their taller players on Brooks which made the Bulls help a lot and Rasoul Butler killed the on a couple of repeat three pointers like Mirotic did a couple of games back against Memphis.

    Is it getting bad enough that I am wondering when Dunleavy will come back. I want Butler back focusing on being the two guard. Paul Pierce also seemed focused on playing hard against him as well and he got a few fouls when I would have rather seen Jimmy on Beal and Beal guarding Jimmy.

    Again, I feel that Snell and Moore played well tonight. It might be worth starting Snell instead of Hinrich until Dunleavy comes back and playing Moore more than Hinrich. We will see in the rematch on Wednesday at home.

  • There used to be a time when hinrich was actually a decent player. Nothing special but for his size he played good defense, used to be able to knock down open shots, had a tendency to be a streaky shooter, handled the ball well, and was just a handy combo gaurd to have on your team. Now he looks like he just needs to retire. He doesn't do anything right and he just may very well be a worse starter than Keith Bogans.

    I'm really disappointed with Taj this year. Besides a couple flashy dunks to me he has been the biggest disappointment of the team. Rose and Noah's struggles are understandable, it takes time to fully recover from knee surgeries especially when your knees are your bread and butter. But Taj has no excuse, he's been garbage. Even though he hasn't said so publicly I feel him not getting the opportunity to start this year just rubbed him the wrong way. maybe it's just me but his entire attitude and body language on the court is just different. It feels more angry.

    The one good thing I can say came out of this beating from the Wizards is Snell actually looked alive. He didn't look timid or confused out there. Rather he looked focused and that's the 1st time I've seen him play that way. Maybe there's still hope for him yet.

  • In reply to ajaychitown:

    Excellent point regarding Taj. He probably thought he was going to be a major focal point of the offense this year. But with the additions of Gasol and Niko and the emergence of Butler as an offensive force his stature has been diminished. I agree his body language is different this year.

  • In reply to ajaychitown:

    His attitude problems actually started last year(which I believe was the first year of his new contract), as I pointed out on a number of occasions, but they have been even more pronounced this season.

    Last night his defensive decision making was horrendous, constantly leaving Gortat alone at the rim to switch or double onto someone else's guy. I don't know if he was freelancing or following Thibs defensive schemes, but it didn't look right most of the night.

    Gasol also couldn't seem to stay within 10 ft or Gortat either. Not sure why the Bulls went with Gasol on Gortat and Noah on Nene, especially since the Wiz went the other way when they were on defense. Noah just can't handle Nene's size and physicality, but he can hold his own against Gortat. Not sure how Gasol would have fared against Nene defensively, but at least he has more height and weight to throw at Nene than Noah does.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    But anyway Bulls match that up, both Nene and Gortat are just plain stronger than any Bulls frontline player. It was very apparent in last years playoffs as Nene and Gortat physically abused Noah and Gibson. On the frontline Bulls have length, but not much beef.

  • Yes, that is true about Taj's play lately. And given that Mirotic has started to shine a bit, that also takes the focus off him even more. I think Taj could even focus on being an enforcer more. There was a moment during last night's game where Nene had backed down Noah and he eventually scored on him. But Nene felt Noah had fouled him without getting the call. Nene had this look on his face and it seemed like he was talking trash to Noah. That was not the time for Noah to take him on but it would have been nice for a player like Taj to jump in there and let Nene know that the Bulls were not going to back down. Maybe give Nene a push and get a technical where it is to help the team rather than getting a technical complaining about having been fouled. Heck I heard last night that Nene is a terrible free throw shooter so maybe you fould him hard every time down load until he hits a couple of free throws. I think that was my concern about what I saw last night is that the toughness of the Bulls as a whole just seemed to be missing. And that is unusual to me during the Thibs era.

  • Regardless of Rose's problems, the Bulls have to realize Klank needs a replacement i.e a trade. I didn't want Jeff Green anyway because he can't shoot volume threes. In only one season did he shoot a decent percentage with a volume of over three attempts. Gerald Green would be a good option, but with Phoenix possibly a playoff team they'd have pressure on them to make sure they get something back they really value(Taj)..? I still like the idea of trying to steal away Alec Burks from floundering Utah. It would be a gamble, but could pay off big.

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    One of the things I have noticed is a lack f energy and intensity from the starters. It's why we dig ourselves huge holes right from the start. Road teams usually come out with it because they know they have a disadvantage (or SHOULD theoretically) and usually wish to try to take the opposing teams fans out of the game. It is a successful strategy which usually seems to be working lately. I love our bench and there I see some energy.- that's why I was hoping we would go with Niko at the 3 instead of Kirk at the 2... They seem to be coasting and when they dig themselves a hole, they question if its worth putting forth the energy to get back into it. Rose needs to drive, Jimmy needs to attack and draw fouls, Noah crash the bourds and Pau post up- THEN we are deadly. How much of that have we really seen lately? Our offense is potent, but it really does rely on Rose's penetration which has gone away. We sit back and clank jumpers for far too long - I am getting sick of watching these five minute scoring droughts. If that is my one complaint about Thibs is not intervening on crappy play sooner.

  • The struggles for the Bulls are fixable (and without trading for anything). This team isn't all of a sudden a bad team. The biggest reason why they are losing is obvious, shooting percentage. Now, why are they shooting so poorly? Well, when you don't have Steph Curry and Kevin Durant type shooters, you need to take fairly open, quality shot attempts. I think it's no secret that the Bulls have been taking tough shots, and they simply don't have the shooters to do that. AB and Gasol are the best pure shooters on the team, and probably the only ones who can consistently make contested jumpers. How do the Bulls fix this? Whenever the Bulls are playing well, the ball is moving and they are using penetration or inside out play, this is obvious but is the reality.

    You look at last night's GS vs. Cleveland game. The Cavs stayed in it the first half due to great shooting by JR Smith and Kyrie Irving. Then, they did not have a good 2nd half shooting, and the GS shooters are usually consistent so they ran away with the game. This may change in the playoffs though for GS, when defenses tighten up.

    If the Bulls want to get back to what they are good at, they have to work hard at manufacturing more easy shots than the opponent. It goes both ways. The Wizards had so many open shots last night, the D was not where it needed to be. The D is a strength when they are forcing difficult shots, once again, I know, not a brilliant or unique theory, more common sense than anything.

    This team depends on ball movement, teamwork, team help defense and execution. Think about when Butler is at his best, it is when he has an open lane, attacks, and gets to the free throw line. It has less to do with his shooting ability, more about the open lanes he was getting due to good ball movement. It can't depend on manufacturing shots by 1 player, unless D Rose goes back to the MVP level. Jimmy, although amazing, will only stand out when his team is getting him open and he has room to work. Many won't agree, but Dunleavy is missed due to the attention he receives at the 3 point line.

    Overall, I would rather have a team like this than a team that has great shooters, but finds themselves struggling in the playoffs when defenses tighten up. If you can get both great shooters and a stellar D with a teamwork oriented offense, then you look like champions like the Spurs of the past few years.

    I know this seems too simple to be true, but instead of being concerned about who the Bulls need and what players are playing how many minutes, this is the biggest concern for the rest of the season.

  • In reply to Keep:

    The Bulls aren't suddenly a bad team, they just are not as good as everyone wants to think that they are. Everyone of their players are fundamentally flawed in some way, with the possible exception of Butler. But as Charles Barkley said, Butler may be a max player, but he is still a role player.

    The expectations that people have for this Bulls team are not based on current reality. They are based on everyone on the team reverting to their peak years, or having career years. Unfortunately, everyone non rookie on the team other than Butler are past their peak career years either the result of age or injury.

    I agree with you that the bulls don't seem to be able to generate good shots or even open looks very easily. This is due to not having an offensive philosophy or system. They seem to freelance, go one on one playing schoolyard ball. Thats why despite the upgrade in offensive talent, they still struggle to score when the other team turns up the defensive intensity. This probably won't change under Thibs, which is also why Rose needs to be an offensive superstar for the Bulls to have a chance.

  • It requires work and focus to manufacture open looks. Lazy teams don't win rings!

    The last two games, it seemed that Kirk and Noah were in a contest for who was worse. Kirk won, but not by much!

  • After an ineffective night against the Wizards frontline and then a career-high one the next night against the Bucks, I'm really hoping a trend I've been monitoring that at Gasol's age he's just a great bum slayer is wrong. There aren't many bums in the playoffs.

  • In reply to Hunter:

    or lilliputians. and I don't think that your trend is wrong

  • Kind of surprised that you more or less dumped the whole thing in Noah's lap. Clearly he has lost a step athletically due to injury and he had already lost a step or two over the previous 2 seasons prior to the injury. From the day that he signed his current contract, I've thought that Noah wouldn't be worth resigning when it was over.

    However, the crux of the Bulls problems this season start with the Gasol signing which forces Noah to play out of position on a full time basis. Even before the Gasol signing I always contended that Noah was not a full time power forward.

    Gasol can only play center and is a 7 ft version of boozer on defense. Not only is he virtually totally immobile, he is either stupid and doesn't understand basic defensive concepts or just doesn't bother trying to do so. In fact if Gasol were 6'8"(like boozer) he'd be out of the league. Because he has more offensive talent than we ever had on the frontline he is both a blessing and a curse, but in the end, I fear that he will be fool's gold.

    Taj Gibson has certainly not earned a starting job with either his attitude or play this season.

    All that being said, the only solution as some of us have said since the preseason and you restated today is pairing Gasol with Gibson and Noah with Mirotic and then platooning them hockey style, with each pairing playing in 6 minute shifts. Obviously this means that someone has to give up a starting position. Noah sacrifices starting and Gasol sacrifices finishing or closing out games.

    However, I am starting to sense that Gasol might actually be a little too self centered to go for this. Since joining the Bulls, he has made a number of comments that indicate that he is really concerned with his own personal statistics. The most recent or interesting one came after his 9 block game when he was asked about being aware of the possibility of getting a triple double, and he emphatically noted that he always knows what his stats are, that he is very aware of them even during the game. I was kind of put off by this, I didn't expect that from a veteran, a champion and a guy with his personality. Maybe all of the problems in LA weren't the coach's and Dwight Howards fault. Maybe it does take two or three to tango.

    So while I agree with your overall premise that Noah hasn't played well at all this season, and I agree with your solution, the problem is a team problem not just a Noah problem.

    Something interesting to note in light of Gasol's career night which illustrates the conundrum/dichotomy that is Gasol. At the point that Gasol had scored 30 points last night the Bulls were down 51-50, at the point that he had scored 40, they were only up 68-62, and for the game he had the lowest plus/minus at plus 5 of all the starters. The Hangdog who was our second leading scorer also had the second lowest plus/minus at plus 7, while Noah, Butler and Snell of all people were plus 12.

    Unfortunately, I think that Gasol's performance the previous 2 games, against Nene, and the human stick figure Rudy Gobert are far more predictive of what the playoffs are going to look like than last nights romp in the park against the Milwaukee lilliputians. Heck, even Stacey and Neal were making little people jokes. Sam Smith even noted that Gasol had problems against Gobert in the world cup this past summer when France derailed Spain from reaching the finals.

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