The Chicago Bulls battled tough all night against the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers, however, they came up just short at the end, eventually losing 98-91.
Several reasons why the Bulls lost on Tuesday night, but let's take a look at what went wrong for the Bulls down in L.A., along with a look at tomorrow night's tilt against the Phoenix Suns:
Bench Production: Coming into the season, it seemed as if the Bulls were going to have a very deep bench. However, after Boozer went down, Gibson took his place in the starting five, which has thrown off the bench a little bit in the early going.
Shannon Brown and Matt Barnes absolutely torched the Bulls, combining for 31 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 assists.
A reoccurring theme Tuesday night was the three-point shooting put on display: overall, the Lakers went 10/25 from three-point land. However, the bench shot an incredible 9/17 from three, led by Brown's five three's.
The Bulls bench, on the other hand, combined for a depressingly low 10 points, shooting 3/18 from the floor as a group.
Sharp shooter Kyle Korver struggled all night hitting his open jumpers, and missed several key 4th quarter looks. While Ronnie Brewer had a few good moments, his impact was fairly unnoticeable.
Although Omer Asik only played 8 minutes, he provided good energy when on the court, grabbing 4 rebounds(3 offensive). Asik is still a work-in-progress, but he has yet to establish any type of post-up game.
The Lakers' bench outscored the Bulls' bench 39 to 10; a stat that won't win you many games in the NBA.
Three-Pointers: What more can you say? The Bulls got outscored 30 to 10 from the three-point line-- led by Brown's 5 3-point field goals, the Lakers' bench went 9/17 on three's.
Korver was brought to Chicago to bring the Bulls a shooter to surround Rose with, however, he struggled on Tuesday night, scoring just 2 points on 1/6 from the field(0/4 from three-point land).
The Lakers had a couple key stretches in the 4th quarter that turned the momentum in their favor after the Bulls made a bit of a rally-- it's tough to overcome countless momentum swings playing on the road, and on this night, the Bulls just couldn't overcome the barrage of momentum-swinging three-pointers.
Aren't Shooting Guards supposed to score? Bogans, Brewer, and Korver went a combined 3/15 from the field, scoring just 11 points.
The Bulls lack a shot creator besides Derrick Rose, and on nights where the defense continues to collapse on Rose, the Bulls needed another wing player to step up. Neither shooting guards did, and even SF Luol Deng had a rough night-- scoring 11 of his 13 points in the first quarter.
It's tough to win a game when your SG's go a combined 3/15 from the floor, and nearly impossible when playing against the defending champions.
Next Matchup: Bulls @ Suns. 8:00pm C.S.T. CSN/ESPN Radio.
The Bulls, and Rose, will play their first game since this happened. Watching that always puts a smile to my face, that's for sure.
Coming off a back-to-back, the Bulls will have to suck it up and put a good effort out on Wednesday night. Without Amar'e Stoudemire, the Suns will look quite different. However, with two-time MVP Steve Nash still in the fold, the Suns still have a potent team, capable of winning against great teams on any given night.
The Bulls have enough talent, without Boozer, to handle the Suns, but they will certainly have tired legs after the tough, hard-fought loss against the Lakers.
Well, that's life in the NBA.