E'Twaun Moore John Lucas's the Bulls past the Thunder

E'Twaun Moore John Lucas's the Bulls past the Thunder

Not since John Lucas took LeBron James to school have I seen a 13th man scrub player annihilate an unstoppable superstar, but that's just what E'Twaun Moore did.

What was more impressive? Moore's 9/10 from the field, including the game winning three, or Moore slowing down Russell Westbrook once he defended him? Moore brought tremendous offense and defense. Given that Kirk Hinrich and Doug McDermott look like lost causes for the Bulls right now, E'Twaun should get plenty of opportunity until someone proves they can do better.

Beyond Moore, the Bulls won behind a great team effort.

Pau Gasol seemed to get so many cheap points in this game it was ridiculous. He was 9/19 from the field, and it was one of those nights that I felt it really wasn't his night, but he probably scored five baskets just being big and hanging out near the basket. It wasn't always pretty [though the early spin move dunk sure was], but he used his size well against a fairly big Thunder front line.

Joakim Noah was trying to do his Jason Kidd impression to rack up the assist/rebound double/double but fell an assist shy. His energy on the court was awesome again and for the second week in a row he looks closer to all-star Joakim than broken down Joakim. Let's hope he can just remain healthy through the playoffs, and the bulls will be in much, much better shape.

Nikola Mirotic has continued to prove my point that Thibodeau was a moron for not playing him more at his natural position. He didn't shoot the ball particularly well, but he did drill a three when it counted, took largely good shots, and got to the free throw line a ton. At PF, Mirotic is a match up challenge for opponents. At SF, he's just a plodder with pedestrian accuracy.

Aaron Brooks did a nice job breaking down the defense, but he displayed his typical spotty shot selection and was hurt by his lack of size several times when driving too deep and getting left with no where to go. Kirk Hinrich shot the ball fairly well (3/4), but his defense was awful and he passed up open shots frequently and also showed fairly shoddy decision making skills.

What's interesting is that Kirk Hinrich was not in the defensive sub lineup at the end of the game, so those that feel he's still making a defensive impact? Yeah, not so much.

Doug McDermott was an absolute train wreck on offense for the second game in a row. It's a small sample size, but he's 0-8 over the past two games with four or five of his shots being blocked. It's incredible how smooth his stroke looks in practice but how he seems to lose it on the court. That said, he was pretty solid for the second game in a row defensively which is an encouraging sign.

All in all, it was a great win against a quality team. The Bulls were down late in the fourth and showed a lot of mental toughness to hang in and come back.

Happy thoughts to Craig Sager who made an appearance on the sidelines after struggling with leukemia and received a Bulls colored blazer. It was a nice moment and some great crowd support for Craig.

This was the first game in a four game in five night stretch. It was an emotional win for Chicago which means tomorrow's game against the Pacers will be extra tough, especially given how hot Indiana has been recently.

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    Great to see Craig Sager back... Look'n Good!

    Can Niko get some ROY votes now?! He makes a huge difference whether he's playing alongside Noah @ PF or Pau and Noah @ SF. What's so impressive about him is how he's adjusted to the speed, pace, and talent of the NBA so quickly with spotty mins to play with. Since Taj has been physically unable to swallow up Niko's playing time, all Niko has done was put up 29 & 9, 23 & 8 and 26 & 8 respectfully. Oh, and he led the team with 2 blk shots against OKC too. Makes me say Taj who? Once this Kid is able to drain his shot with some consistency, he's going to be a huge factor in the Bulls championship chase. He's a difference maker.

    Big shot by E'twaun... Great game by E'twaun! He's another kid who should be given more playing time. I like his size, his defense, and his confidence. He's stays ready all season long.

    I enjoy the depth on this team. It's going to carry the Bulls deep into the playoffs.

    Big Win by the Bulls!

  • A great team win and that is what I love to see as everyone else does not have to defer to D Rose or Jimmy. Give McD some time and he will come around. The most pathetic thing is the ESPN highlight reel is all about OKC and barely anything about how the Bulls pulled out this win.

  • In reply to Sluggers:

    I don't think there is any hope for McDNP this season. He might still get some first half minutes until Taj gets back, but once everybody is back he will be a full time McDNP(CD).

  • Moore has to be feeling really good about himself and rightfully so. Even thought it's only one game he just made an argument to start in my opinion. It shouldn't come as no surprise either because even in limited minutes he's been solid all season.

    Mirotic is looking more and more like a star. Like Michael Cunningham said once he can start draining his shot consistently he's gonna be match up nightmare for real. Every since his minutes have been bumped up he's been solid and he looks a lot happier too. But that's to be expected when your a competitor, you want to be in the big games at the big moments.

    Overall good win and I have to admit I didn't think we could pull this one out, but you gotta love this teams heart and fight.

  • I have to give credit where credit is due and in this particular game Thibs did what we all want him to do, which is play the guys at the end of the game who give you the best chance of winning.

    McDermott is done this year. He appears to have no confidence. If he works hard on his game in the off-season he can come back next year with a fresh outlook and be fine, but he looks shot this year.

    I like Mirotic, but his head fakes at the 3-pt line are driving me crazy. It is good to do it now and then but he seems to do it on at least 75% of his touches out there. He needs to mix it up. An immediate shot, a fly-by by the defender followed by a three, and the head fake go to the rim all have to be used. Still, it is great to see Thibs have faith in him. He will be needed in the playoffs.

    That was a great game to watch. Westbrook is so dynamic. I don't like his "I'm putting on my angry face" look, but he is fun to watch.

  • In reply to bjb57:

    Yea, that seems kind of fake, like when Kobe started doing his black Mamba act.

  • During the startimg lineup the announcer forgot Snell's number. That have me a nice chuckle.

    Excited to see how the bulls respond tonight. They seem very motivated to finish in the two spot.

    If everyone comes back before the playoffs the bulls should still have a playoff gear.

    When do the playoffs start?

  • The best news is that Thibs is actually playing Moore more and playing Hinrich less. There is hope.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    That would be good news if it was for the right reason, as in Moore replacing the dog's minutes directly. However, Moore played exclusively at SG last night while the corpsedog split the PG minutes 50/50 with Brooks. Right now this is dictated by Butlers(and Rose's) absence. The real test of Thibs will be when either one or both come back. There are some people who only think that the dog just shouldn't play SG, and then there are some people(most?) who don't think that he should play at all. Fully healthy, there simply is no reason to play him anymore, he is now nothing more than the backcourt version of Nazr.

  • Moore definitely has talent, a very good floater and he can knock down threes and plays solid defense. This was a player I was excited about when the Bulls signed this chicago area native last summer but was disappointed he got very little playing time. The love-affair/ man love/bromance or whatever they have with kirk hinrich has to end, if he opts in, trade him! E Moore is the better combo guard that can actually play shooting guard and produce. Mirotic needs to be unchained and developed, he is one of the future star players of the Bulls. Still a bit disappointed in A. Brooks, he's kind of sucked and I thought he was going to take off with the extended minutes and starting role. Snell too is starting to disappear when he had some outstanding games in february. Hopefully both of them can get on track.

  • In reply to Defense-Rebound13:

    Trade Hinrich to who? Who would want a corpse?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Vic Nardozza:

    to whom...

  • In reply to Defense-Rebound13:

    I don't see any team giving up anything for Hinrich in a trade, though I guess it's possible that someone might want him around to mentor a young PG.

    Also, if Hinrich wants to retire as a Bull, the front office might repsect his wishes enough to not trade him.

    Hinrich is due to make $2,854,940 next season, maybe the Bulls can get him to decline his player option if they tell him he can have a coaching or front office job for the same salary?

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    They could also buy out his contract, while not likely it is a possibility.

  • In reply to ajaychitown:

    But then his salary counts against the Salary Cap and Luxury Tax, which is why they'd be better off getting him to retire and paying him as a coach/front office worker.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    at least then they could spread out the hit over 3 years($950K per) like they did with Rip Hamilton.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    We can only pray that the Bulls would offer him that deal, and that he would accept it.

  • What a game!!!!!
    First , I'd like to say that in the picture above the man in the tie sums up my reaction at home when Moore hit that shot.

    Biggest takeaway for me from this game is just how good Mirotic can be. He wasn't hitting his shot, but if he did he would have had an epic night. I said it before and I'll say it again this guy will be an All-Star one day. I'm starting to wonder if he is the player that the Bulls need to build around for the future? It seems obvious that Taj isn't needed on this team anymore, which is a shame because he is one of the hardest workers in the league. I think the Bulls should look to trade him on draft night to a team that he can start on and really show what he can do.

    Moore showed that he can play!!! I've been going in the direction that the Bulls should draft a point guard, but if Moore can play like this, he will be the second or third guard (no idea what will happen with Hinrich and no confidence that Brooks will stay), so they might not need another one. If they trade Gibson, I'd focus on the big from Kentucky or Frank the Tank from Wisconsin. Both would be great backup Centers in my opinion.

    Finally, I'd like to say farewell to Dunleavy's athleticism. That stuff by the rim was truly an embarrassment on the level of the Hinrich spin cycle from the Clippers game. Not only did he waste an incredible pass from Mirrotic, but later wasted another from Noah. I actually had to rewind the game just to see how on earth he missed that. At least he was hitting his threes or that game would have been a nightmare.

  • In reply to PaBullfan:

    The Bulls should have traded Taj already and bet on Mirotic's upside. It would have been a risk, and the FO doesn't like to take risks (cynics can insert something silly about how this is all so they can make the playoffs and line Reinsdorf's pockets).

    Taj value goes down with each passing game. At this point I can't see them getting much return for him and he's probably most valuable to the Bulls.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Man, I totally agree. I been preaching that gospel since the trade deadline. Don't get me wrong Gibson aint all that bad to have around, and he's still on a fairly reasonable contract. The problem is you have a much younger and more talented option behind him with a greater ceiling. I understand Niko's still considered a rookie in the NBA but he's no stranger to the game. Heck if your new to watching Bulls basketball you wouldn't even know he's a rookie that's how good he is.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Hey, Wesley Mathews went down with an achiles last night. To me he's always been one of the most underated 2 guards in the league. Maybe, we could make a move for him, especially since they have Afflalo to replace him. I doubt that Portland has any interest in moving him, and who knows if he's ready for next season. A guy like Taj might be a good fit for a team like that, even if Taj doesn't see himself as a backup. We wouldn't have to make that move until the draft or its aftermath.

  • I understand that Moore is near the end of the bench. But I do not think he is a scrub. Although I don't know what your definition of scrub is. Moore has a lot of skills. He shoots well, he passes well, and he has height. I think his overall problem is that he is a tweener between point guard and two-guard and that is why he is a bench player. But he is not a scrub and if I had a team anywhere be it in the NBA or any park game in the city, I'd take him over John Lucas any day. In fact, I might take him over any little point guard including the ones that have helped the Bulls over the past years including Lucas, Nate, and DJ.

    It is not a pun to say that Moore brings more to the table. Don't mistake me. He is not a perennial all-star. But he is a better player than Hinrich and when it comes to playing time, he should get all of Hinrich's minutes right now. Last night the Bulls had a three on one fast break that Hinrich turned into a cross-court turnover and TNT made fun of his continuous circling pivot fake to be wide open and then throw the ball away on Shaqtin a Fool.

    Moore and definitely Mirotic need more playing time. I think Thibs is recognizing how to use Mirotic and has brought him along nicely. And he is starting to use Gasol and Noah better near the end of the games (using Gasol for offense and Noah for defense). Despite the complaints about Thibs, I think he does a good job and I know about 20 teams who would snap him up if he was not here. And I don't see Pat Riley or Phil Jackson (the coach) coming through that door.

    I'm watching First Take on ESPN and they are all talking about how all the discord with the front office and wearing down of players will lead to Thibs being gone. And they are talking about how good a coach he is believed to be nationally and how any team including teams with coaches under contract would want Thibs.

    Regardless of what happens this season, I do not think Thibs is the problem. Players play hard for him and they get better under him (Butler, Snell, Gibson, Noah, Deng, even Gasol this year). Let's get a great player in the draft to be our next great point guard (my preference Jerian Grant from Notre Dame), sign Butler, continue to develop Mirotic and Snell, keep Noah healthy and the Bulls are players for the championship for the next couple of years. And I didn't even mention DRose or Taj. How many other teams in the NBA can say they are set up with the players and coach to be key players for the NBA championship for the next couple of years?

  • " How many other teams in the NBA can say they are set up with the players and coach to be key players for the NBA championship for the next couple of years?" Quite a few, actually. More than 10, I would guess.

    However, with 3 of their top 6 players out, it's been great to see some quality wins over top teams. At even then we can see the Bulls are still not playing up to their potential! But then, that is usually the case.

  • Definition of scrub = Hinrich

  • In reply to ajaychitown:

    The walking dead = kaptain klankaroo

  • Last night the Bulls had a three on one fast break that Hinrich turned into a cross-court turnover and TNT made fun of his continuous circling pivot fake to be wide open and then throw the ball away on Shaqtin a Fool.

    Yea, I caught both of those gaffes. I was flipping out when he blew that 3 on 1, although Mirotic should have known better and not passed to him in the first place.

    The only reason that Thibs is using anybody, especially Mirotic better is because he's missing 3 of his top 6 guys and has no other choice. We all know that Mirotic is going back to 10-15 minutes of uselessness at SF as soon as Taj gets back.

  • I can't stand Russel Westbrook. I know he has been absolutely amazing lately, and deserves the praise. He torched the Bulls most of the game and is crazy athletic...I just hate how he has to make faces ALL THE TIME....and acts like everything he does is like a game winner. Act like you have been there before please!?!?! As much as he was brilliant, he had a few plays that shows he just doesn't have it like Lebron or Durant, and I believe just not as good as the pre-injury MVP Rose....RW just will always be a little behind and acting like he's ahead of those guys. Another reason why I love D Rose so much, doesn't act like a buffoon like RW.....

  • In reply to Keep:

    What's wrong with a player showing some enthusiasm? And the reason Rose doesn't act like Westbrook is because he can't play like him.

  • In reply to Keep:

    I'm with you Keep, there's nothing wrong with showing emotion, but like you said act like you've been there before.

    There's no need to celebrate like you've just won the NBA Finals after every shot you make in the 2nd quarter on a regular season game.

  • In reply to Keep:

    I don't have an issue with Westbrook's antics, that's just a reflection of his personality. There's always gonna be those weird guys that everyone loves to hate. I still remember when Gibert Arenas was that guy before injuries made him abysmal. My problem with Westbrook is he has the same weakness that Kobe has. He feels a need to carry the load of the entire team while seeking his own individual accolades. You can tell in this game he wanted another triple double to make history more so than winning. I don't care what anyone says, 40 points mean nothing if your team still loses. Gasol put it best; he said he doesn't like having those kind of games because it takes the rest of the team out of a rhythm. Early on OKC was killing the Bulls when they were playing as a team, then for no reason at all Westbrook start playing hero ball alienating his teammates.

  • In reply to ajaychitown:

    I agree that it's a bit off-putting watching RW continuously exhibit his "I am a basketball god" body language throughout the entire game. That being said, I'm sure OKC fans eat that shit up, and it's really no different than Noah holstering imaginary pistols, or skipping off the court during time-outs when the Bulls have some momentum going. Whether that behavior is seen as boastful arrogance or simply a display of passion, really depends on each fan's perspective I suppose.

  • In reply to BullsMan:

    Yes it is different, although I am actually not a fan of the holstering thing in general and especially form Noah since he can't shoot.

  • In reply to Keep:

    I don't care for most of that crap(O.K. I hate it), especially the menacing facial gestures where you are mimicking a psychopathic gang banger. I don't mind guys displaying their passion for the game in a more natural way, say like Noah does, or Jordan did, or Magic did, or Larry did.

  • Good win, fun game. But let's not put Moore in the hall of fame. However he should get Kirk's minutes if only because Hinrich has somehow aged 10 years in one off season. Highlight of the night: Kirk's cross court pass that was picked off by Westbrook. My God, kids are taught in elementary school not to make cross court passes.

    And I have been all for McDermott getting more minutes. But dude, hit a shot. And stop looking so terrified on the court.

  • mirotic came into the game in the second half when the thunder were on an unbelievable hot streak and the bulls needed offense. he chucked up 3 straight 3 pointers and none of them were close. but he didn't back down, started going to the hoop and either getting layups or free throws, and then had the onions to launch that 3 in the last minute that he swished and closed the lead to one point. i loved seeing him do that, as well as firing up the crowd and his teammates. whatever people want to say about garpax, they picked a winner in mirotic. if noah can get healthy, i would love to see him passing from the high post to a team full of shooters and cutters (Rose, Butler, Snell, Mirotic). The offense would hum, San Antonio Spurs style.

  • With Rose out, you can see who can play. Rose tends to dominate the ball and guys like Noah and Mirotic can be held back a bit. Especially with Rose jacking up 6 3's per game... that's 6 possessions that could go to others for a chance to get better shots.

    1. E.Moore can play. With/without Rose. This is good for when Rose returns.

    2. As we have seen in recent games, Mirotic is the real deal and needs to play 30 minutes. With all 4 bigs, it's hard to do this year, but we DEFINITELY need to make room for him next year. Gibson may have the most trade value given his contract. Noah only has one year left. Gasol has value, too, however. Should be interesting to see b/c I can't imagine the Bulls go to next year with the current 4 bigs knowing Mirotic is so good.

    3. Getting to the FT line is huge. Mirotic shot 33% from the field, but scored 26 on only 15 shots. A reason why Butler needs to be resigned, even near max. Maybe even at the max given that the cap is going up and other teams could offer max.

    4. This team is about more than Rose moving forward with two potential 1st rounders + a guy like Gibson to shop. ***

    5. I'm far from giving up on McDermott given how Snell and Butler did ZERO in their first NBA seasons and started to perform midway through their second NBA seasons. At worst, he should be a shooter off the bench in year 2 or 3.

    *** Bulls could have the Sactown pick at 11 this year. Sactown is 3-4 after making the move to Karl. Not bad given that their schedule was been brutal, with 2 losses to SA and one to Portland. They did beat Memphis, surprisingly. They are not tanking and could get the 11 pick for Chicago with 23 games to play, including 6 games left against Lakers, Philly and Utah. They are 4 losses out of the 11 spot. The question is: If it's close, does management hold Cousin's/Gay out for the final few games? Their last two are against the Lakers, who are also tanking, so it could be hard to lose those two!

  • In reply to Granby:

    I too was hoping Sactown could rise to the 11-spot with George Karl. But on further analysis Sac at .356 in the 6-spot would need a 7 game winning streak to reach .424 and even be in the conversation for the 11-spot. Then they would have to continue to play about .450 ball for the duration of the season after that winning streak, and in the tough Western Conference.

    If I was George Karl, I'd want to keep that draft pick.

    Next season when Karl has a full season maybe Sac can rise to a .450 team allowing Bulls to get the pick. Bulls getting that pick this season is a super long-shot.

  • In reply to Granby:

    I've been watching the Sacto situation since Karl came on board. Even if they play .500 ball, they have too many teams to pass, at least 5 right now with a 6th team in the running. They'd have to finish the season like a playoff team to get to 11, I'm not all that hopeful since they are without their starting PG for the rest of the season. Plus as you noted, why wouldn't they tank it up at the end to keep the pick. All is not lost, we have 2 more seasons to get it.

  • In reply to Granby:

    Sacramento lost to the lowly Orlando Magic Friday night. That pretty much puts a fork in any hopes of Bulls getting Sacs draft pick this June. Maybe next year.... or the one after that.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Yes, the Orlando loss really hurts. I would hope that Karl can avoid a bottom 10 finish next year.

  • In reply to Granby:

    Followed up by a loss to Miami on Saturday.
    Yes, we have to give George Karl a full season. I think its possible given how Sacramento started out this season 9-5 before Cousins became ill and the owner fired a good coach.

    But Sac is now at .344. They need a .100 improvement next season, that's a big jump!

  • Credit Thibs with sticking with Moore. He went with the hot hand. Even for the game winner. A tremendous play he drew up.

    We bash Thibs a lot, but he really is a great coach. Maybe his practices are tough. But, an extra 30 minutes of practices every few days cannot force a rolled ankle like Taj suffered. It's not going to tear a meniscus. It has nothing to do with Butler's shoulder injury.

    We all kill Thibs about McDermott, but we don't see him in practice everyday. The kid was injured and now is confidence may be in the toilet. I've seen no reason to think that McDermott is going to break out and score 15/game this season.

    So, for one night, Thibs shined, I thought.

  • In reply to Granby:

    While he did seem to make some strides, in reality his hand was forced and he really didn't come around to the fact that Snell had no hope against Westbrook until well into the 4rth quarter, after Westbrook torched him for another 19 points in just the 3rd quarter.

  • In reply to Granby:

    Thibs is clearly not the problem on this team. Huge mistake to get rid of a great coach.

  • In reply to CN71:

    If he continues to play Hinrich instead of Moore, and Gibson instead of Mirotic, that is a huge freaking problem.

    Consistently throughout the year, when Niko gets 30+ minutes, he produces, big time:

    32.6 min
    20.9 points
    9.1 rebounds
    44.1% FG
    42.3% 3pt (6.5 attempts per game)
    77.5% FT (8.9 attempts per game)
    54.9% eFG%
    62.7% TS%

    That's 7 games that either Pau, Jo or Taj was out, plus 1 game against Golden State when Niko played almost exclusively at SF.

    Niko has put up better numbers than Taj all year, I'm very curious as to whether or not Thibs has the balls to keep playing Niko once Taj is active. Especially after the way Niko has dominated the 4th quarter these last three games:

    36.0 min
    11/19 FG
    4/7 3's
    12/16 FT
    9 REB
    38 PTS
    .730 TS%
    .684 eFG%

  • Is this another example of Bulls playoff gear? I hope so.

    Has Taj Gibson lost his place in the rotation to Mirotic?
    How many more games leading the team in scoring will it take? Playing a dynamic, score from anywhere on the court, shot creator at a position (PF) that has been occupied by non-scorers, is a significant improvement to the team. It makes Bulls more lethal in crunch time and hopefully more playoff ready. Good rebounder to boot!

    Been calling for E’Twaun Moore to get SG minutes.
    He’s under contract for next season. With wings Dunleavy, Snell, Moore, and Butler when he returns, there never has been any reason to play PG Hinrich at SG. Hopefully Thibs now realizes that.

  • How much credit should Thibs actually get for the development of Niko, Snell and Moore? I know there's a lot of defense of Thibs going on, but I'm not ready to defend him...though I'm also not ready to cut him loose.

    My concern is that we're seeing all these guys step up and show their stuff when allowed to - Niko, Snell, Moore. And yet, if we weren't faced with all the injuries we've had, would Thibs ever even play them? I certainly think his preference would be to play his starters for 40 minutes a game, then the new guys would never have a shot to prove themselves (which is exactly what the regular season is for...) and everyone would be completely exhausted by the playoffs.

    What will be interesting to see, and what will prove whether Thibs is a coach we can count on in the long term, is whether Thibs has learned anything from this stretch of injuries about balancing minutes and giving guys a shot.

    I also want to see if he stops playing Kirk entirely going forward, especially once Rose and Butler come back. Moore and Snell have earned slots ahead of Kirk, and I think Brooks was already there ahead of Kirk as a backup PG. That cross court pass at the end of the game was just horrific, especially because it came after Kirk didn't get down the court fast enough to finish the three on one fast break.

  • In reply to mwils8:

    Spot on, on all accounts.

  • In reply to mwils8:

    Last night Kirk got 23 minutes, same as Moore, Brooks had 23 and Snell 25. Only Dunleavy really got more among wings and guards, with 31. Why not give Moore more minutes than Hinrich after the last game? McDoug scored 16 points in 16 minutes, why not play him more and Hinrich less while he's scoring? When's the last time Hinrich scored 16 points? He had 5 with 2 assists.

    On the bright side, Gasol got 34 minutes while Noah and Niko got 30 each. I like seeing that kind of balance in minutes among the big men, and I like seeing Niko get 30 minutes. They really don't need Taj and I've thought so all year, though they would need a fourth big man could play legit 10-12 minutes, though it could even be Drew Gooden or someone like that. Nonetheless, when Taj comes back, I can't see Thibs not going to him often, at least 30 minutes per game, with Niko taking a back seat.

  • The only way that I can describe the finish to that game is Spectaculous(Spectacular and Miraculous). This has to rank as the best game of the year, especially once we got the corpsedog out of there (and McPillsbury, but he doesn't really count).

    Thibs rotations seem to be getting better and smarter like he's actually seeing what everyone has been seeing all season. However, it is still likely that injuries are forcing his hand more than anything else.

    He still isn't playing Moore at PG, Brooks and the corpsedog got 47 PG minutes last night, only missing out on the final minute of the game when Thibs actually went with Moore and Snell as his defensive backcourt. As a newbie to the team, I guess that he doesn't trust Moore to run the offense as a PG, or maybe he doesn't think he has the handles. At this point, how can he not give Moore all of the corpsedogs minutes, especially when Butler returns.

    The myth of Tony Snell as a good, great or elite defender should finally be crushed, Snell was horrific on defense last night against Westbrook. It wasn't a bad call by Thibs to start out that way, since the only alternative was Brooks on Westbrook. Snell is a vastly overrated defender by Bulls fans, and it was painfully obvious that he doesn't have the athleticism to guard PGs. He has the body type that might make him look like an elite athlete and defender, but he just isn't. I'd say he's no more than adequate in the right matchups, and much less than that in the wrong ones. He also didn't do squat offensively last night and thus led the Bulls in only one category, negative plus/minus, at minus 13.

    To some degree, Thibs was still his usual stubborn self last night keeping Snell in the game the entire first quarter and the first few/several minutes of the 2nd, despite the fact that it was obvious he couldn't stay in the same zip code with Westbrook. Thibs finally relented when the Bulls got down by 16 points. The game changed at that point as Moore clearly disrupted Westbrooks flow for the rest of the half, and the Bulls rather miraculously close the game to 2 points.

    The Bulls lost the first and third quarters by a total of 17 points and won the second and fourth quarters by a combined total of 20 points.
    Westbrook scored 30 something of his 43 points in the first and third(on Snell). The second and fourth quarters were the Mirotic and Moore quarters(with defensive help from Noah) This should tell Thibs something about his future personnel choices, even after the injured guys come back.

    Dunleavy also had an interesting night, decent but not great shooting for 21 points and a plus 12. However, he still missed a half dozen wide open 3's and layups at what seemed like super crucial moments. There seemed to be something off(extra passive) about how he was playing since he came back, I couldn't really put my finger on it. But last night it just became obvious, he is clearly not anywhere near 100% recovered from his injury. I really hadn't noticed the wrap(ice/heat) that he was wearing on the bench until last night. He also seemed to be missing and laying up a lot of soft shots at the rim(at least 2 last night). The flat tire missed dunk on the breakaway last night made it obvious that he can't push off with that leg and is also afraid of jumping too high and then landing on it. The 2 missed wide open corner 3's also could be a result of his leg not being healthy. This actually makes sense giving the mysterious nature of his injury and how long it took to get back from it. He might not be right the rest of the season.

    Mirotic also struggled with his shot, especially those top of the arc 3's, but he hit a huge one when it counted and was clearly the most impactful Bulls player along with Moore. 3 great nights in a row, what's a Thibs to do when Taj comes back. I think trading Taj this offseason is looking a lot more likely, assuming that he has any value around the league, he(Taj) certainly won't accept falling behind Mirotic. Can we get a second half of the lottery pick?

    Tons of fun last night, far less painful than our usual performance against OKC, especially from the point that Moore entered the game. What can I say, Spectaculous. While no one expects that Moore will shoot 9-10 ever again, Overall, this was still a very revealing night, we'll see how Thibs reacts to it.

  • By the way, anyone notice that Noah had 9 assists with no turnovers.

    Anyone also notice him on the bench after being removed with about 4 minutes to go, standing, jumping, clapping, cheering his teammates on like a maniac. I wonder if Gasol would have done the same if the roles were reversed.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Oh yea, when did Ibaka turn in to Karl Malone, or Dirk? His jumper looked automatic last night.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Agree with earlier post about Snell. He had a string of games where he shot extremely well. But I think he is regressing to the mean on offense. Again becoming too passive and not getting into any rhythm. On defense, he doesn't have the strength to handle someone like Westbrook. Moore is stronger and more effective as a result. Athleticism is very important in defending great players but you need to match-up physically as well. Butler and Tony Allen wear out opposing 2s.

    Also, let's give credit where credit is due. Gasol significantly outplayed Kanter. Kanter has had a number of good games since coming over to the Thunder. He wasn't that big a factor against the Bulls.

  • In reply to hgarbell:

    Allen has always been my favorite wing defender in the league, I advocated going after him instead of Brewer in 2010. He struggles offensively more often than not and is a bit of a head case from time to time, but when it is time to clamp down on D he is like an anaconda squeezing the life out of an offense.

  • What has been the biggest positive from Derrick and Jimmy having to sit is Joakim getting to play his point-centre(PF) position he loves so much. It worked well last year and credit Thibs for 1. trying it last year and 2. using it again now his 2 "stars" are out. I also think it has enlivened Joakim and has played a major part in him getting his mojo back.

    I really hope that even when Derrick and Jimmy are back that Thibs will switch it up and get Joakim to run more of the offence. There is so much better flow with Joakim orchestrating.

    With a fair wind we will have a full compliment of players come the end of the regular season and then we will see if Thibs is a great coach or not. I think there is a consensus, or close to it, on this board as to who should play with who and how many minutes each should get and if nothing else the last few games have supported our views ahead of Thibs' actions so far this season!!!

  • In reply to Jersey66:

    Agree. I hate to say this but sometimes I think getting the ball out of Rose's hands is a major plus for the Bulls offense. Between chucking up threes and turnovers, a lot of possesions go down the toilet with him running the show. When he comes back I would still like to see the ball in Noah's hands a lot.

  • In reply to hgarbell:

    I agree. I think that happens because Rose is beat up, either physically or mentally. If the 3s aren't dropping for him, then he needs to drive and score or drive and dish. If he is too tired for that, then he should have a seat until he is feeling it!

  • In reply to rustyw:

    I think Rose was just taking them 3's to keep from going inside so much to avoid further injury and also to work on his weakness. I really doubt in the playoffs you see Rose taking a ridiculous amount of 3's knowing what's at stake. Rose is no fool and he knows his value is penetrating and driving the lanes.

  • McDoug is just the latest Bulls player to respond to the increased playing time that used to go to Trainwreck Hinrich, though Kirk inexplicably still got 23 minutes. I defended Thibs for not playing McDoug more, stating it was probably that McDoug wasn't good enough, and the past two games backed that up. But this game showed that guys need real NBA time to develop their games. It took a while for Snell to get going too. Niko progressed and regressed based upon playing time at PF. Maybe McDoug wasn't ready until the past few games, where he has reportedly looked ok defensively, but I have to think the offensive part of his game was just a matter of playing him. I have never wavered in my belief in his shooting ability, maybe he'll never do anything else well, but he should be able to do that, and do it now.

  • Mac-D's scoring proves what we knew all along, that he T-Snell and Mirotic only needed playing time to prove themselves. Along with PT they now need ecperience playimg defensively against all the leagues best players--an example is T-Snell learning how to play effectively against Westbrook--which no one in the whole has done.
    We often forget that players also must experience learning how to play against the other players and teams

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