Game Thread: Bulls/Thunder (7:00)

Game Thread: Bulls/Thunder (7:00)

So yeah.. Ouch. Good thing I wrote that bit about not feeling entirely sure of that W in Charlotte, huh?

Really, it's been two days and I still can't wrap my head around the epic collective choke job out there. I mean, I get teams will have off days and poor shooting nights, and whatever else there may be, but that loss felt as something more than that, something worse. The team defense was abused and shred to pieces, with no real change coming after allowing a 69-point first half, which was something we saw a bit of last year as well.

Because of that, tonight's game against Oklahoma City is actually a solid test for this group. The Bulls had their butts handed to them by one of the worst teams in the league, and now they're asked to bounce back against a championship contender. If they compete and adjust tonight, all is forgiven and I'll chuck up the Charlotte game as a "whoopsie" in My Little Pony Diary. But if they come out flat again, it'll be the beginning of a re-emerging pattern that last year saw this team become one of the most unstable and perplexing squads in the NBA.

Am I looking for a win tonight? No, honestly I'm not. What I'm looking for tonight is:

- A valid effort in which corrections, changes, adjustments or whatever the hell we call it just.. happens. If Kevin Durant is launching wide-open three after wide-open three, it'd be failing.

- More aggressiveness going to the basket. Eight free throw attempts against Charlotte doesn't help a lot, even if they did score 105 on the evening. Get to the basket and force the defense to react to you.

- More minutes for Bobby Portis based on 10 minutes of play. Yes, small sample size. Yes, in a blow-out. Yes, mostly against a clean-up crew. But no, I don't care. Portis hustled, ran the floor, played with energy and lifted spirits out there. This is vital in a game like tonight's, and seeing as Joakim Noah isn't exactly oozing any of that these days, now might be the time to give the rook a solid look and give Noah a - gulp - DNP. All right, I'll admit that hurt typing out.

As for the Bulls defense: You know there are two guys who combined is likely to score in the 60-65 point area. Double, react-and-recover, switch, rotate defenders on them, and yes, do in fact throw the kitchen sink against them if you think it'll help any. This is one of those times where you have to let someone else beat you. An open Enes Kanter jumper from 18? I'll take it over a Durant rip-through followed by a herky-jerky move leading to the basket. Just get in their way, and force them to take the worst shots they possibly can, and for the love of Jordan make sure to not turn the ball over against this team. They'll run you to death if they sniff blood once.

Also, if McDermott makes just one three tonight, he'll have matched his season-total from last year. This needed mentioning.

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  • How about giving Taj a DNP instead of Noah. The Bulls 2 worst bigman combo's by netrating are Gasol/Gibson and Noah/Gibson. Anyone see the common denominator there.

    Hope we have a better effort than the last time we faced the Thunder when their bigs(without Ibaka) physically destroyed ours. It was an exceptionally krispy, kremey pansy like night(or afternoon).

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I'm all for the Bulls moving Taj for a 3 and giving Portis some playing time. Hopefully GarPax will get off their lazy asses and make a move.

    Good win tonight, even with Niko in a coma. Can't wait to see a game when everyone is contributing.

  • In reply to Vic Nardozza:

    "I'm all for the Bulls moving Taj for a 3."

    I agree, Vic. Most fans do. But ... Taj won't bring much unless he starts playing better, so don't see that trade happening for a while.

    BTW, most of what Taj did last night could probably have been done by Portis. I suspect the Bulls are playing Taj more to round him into shape for the trade you mentioned.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    I've been beating the "trade Taj" drum for a while but I don't think there's much of a market for him. We might get a bench 3, which is fair since Taj is only a bench 4. Trading Gasol might be the better move.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    I'll take a bench 3. McD's defensive deficiencies limits him from being a permanent starter. And Tony Snell is useless, to the point that I would dump him now and look at the D League for some short term help.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    We've tried Taj for spot minutes at the 3, I don't see him being effective at that spot at all.

  • Nick Friedell announces that McNoD will make his first start tonight. At least Hoiberg has taken one of my suggestions for adjustments to the starting lineup. I've been advocating that McD start since the Dunleavy surgery was announced, actually even last year when Dunleavy was healthy.

    Now, he has one more adjustment to make to the starting lineup, one that will take a little bigger set of stones.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Hoiberg took one of your suggestions?! You've been advocating for McD to start since Dunleavy got hurt?! Wow!!! I'm impressed.

  • WTF is going on inside Niko's noggin. That has to be the worst 6 minutes of defense in the history of the NBA. He switched off(abandoned) his man and double teamed the ball handler on every OKC possession, leading to someone(Ibaka) getting a wide open easy look every time. As a result as has been the case in every game the Thunder had 17 points at the 6 minute mark of the quarter. WTF, somebody has to teach that guy some fundamentals of NBA defense, this isn't FIBA or Euroleague play.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Bad game for Niko but good game for Rose, like a weird alternate universe.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Yep. But at least we are seeing the potential with this group. Even with a key starter having a bad night they beat a playoff team that has 2 of the top players in the NBA!

  • I appreciate all of your contributions Morten, but Bulls Confidential is going to go the way of the Dodo bird unless you provide recaps after every game. Here we are at 3:45 p.m. on Friday afternoon, and there hasn't been anything to address the most important game of the season so far. All we get are abstractions. It's a damn shame, and I miss the hell out of Doug.

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