The Bulls fell to 0-1 in a close game against the Thunder where they ran away with the game in a few minutes.
Just about any NBA team at home can go on an 11-0 run against any team. The friggin’ Cavs outscored the Celtics 13-5 in the final five minutes of their Wednesday evening game in Cleveland, for demagogue’s sake.
The game between the Oklahoma City Thunder (1-0) and Chicago Bulls (0-1) was tight on the scoreboard, but the game within the game said otherwise in the Thunder’s 106-95 win in both teams’ season openers. (Box Score)
When one of the teams in the game racks up 28 fouls and the only true scorer of that team is limited to 31+ minutes because of fouls, you’ve lost your edge to win the game. The Bulls didn’t create that edge, but it should be remembered that for that edge to need creating, one must admit that the alternative isn’t truly there.
Derrick Rose coughed up 31 shots in those minutes, hitting 12 for 30 points. His game looked very good because of his aggressiveness, but it was the ill-executed aggressiveness on defense that got him in foul trouble and gun shy. the result was his counterpart Russell Westbrook scoring 28 and grabbing 10 rebounds.
Westbrook was only 8-15 shooting, but he was 12-13 from the FT line. Three offensive rebounds created second chances for the Thunder offense, others were when he simply used his speed instead of physicality to prevent Rose from scoring instead of allowing Rose more than 4-4 from the FT line.
The Bulls actually out-rebounded the Thunder 51-44 and Taj Gibson had one of the best performances of his career with 16 points and 11 rebounds on 8-12 shooting, but lacking Carlos Boozer showed how weak this team is when the scoring is dependent on the PG.
Taj isn’t a guy you can use to stretch the defense by moving the ball. The limited ball movement forced Rose to possess much more than a winning Bulls team would allow. Against an athletic speedster like Westbrook, a PG just can’t be the offense and facilitate the illusion that it’s multi-dimensional — especially when the #2 option, Luol Deng, just missed everything.
On the defensive end, the Bulls aggressiveness was an equalizer to the Thunder just having more weapons. Unfortunately, the game is longer than the rules of personal fouls allow for the extent of aggressiveness necessary to manifest on the floor.
The result was a gun-shy Bulls team on defense that saw an 87-86 lead turn into being down 93-91. The lack of options for the Bulls offense combined with the handcuffed defense to be the victims of a 100-91 Thunder lead and the game ended in their hands 106-95.
The Bulls attempted to get the ball in Kyle Korver’s hands, but those were just opportunities for Thabo Sefolosha to show his greatest assets. Korver’s anemic help defense was an Achilles heel. With Boozer on the floor and Deng playing decent, Korver can move off his defender and create strong opportunities. Those weren’t there tonight thanks to immense inefficiency from the latter guy who played and the former who got a boxer’s fracture breaking his fall in a domestic oops.
- Deng’s most efficient game is a high-risk one and tonight was the bad end of streakiness. For the first time, I’ll mention Kevin Durant because it’s most worthy here. His defense deserves a lot of credit tonight. It was when he was off the floor that the Bulls were in motion with accessible lanes. Deng didn’t get many good looks all night. Unfortunately, he was the #2 option.
- Brian Scalabrine should not be getting ten minutes, especially when a back-to-backer isn’t scheduled. The isolation game that was forced by the Bulls’ offensive struggles didn’t need to be accentuated by slower options when that slower option is also the lesser option of defending the low post, boxing out, blocking shots, etc. I’m not an Omer Asik or James Johnson overrater, but these guys run the floor better.
- C.J. Watson just can’t handle high-volume athletic PG’s like Westbrook. He isn’t completely bad; but where there’s good, it really can’t been seen against someone that much better. He was a -10, but considering that he played 16 minutes, it really felt like the +/- was worse. then, I realized: he scored eight points and had three assists in 16 minutes and ended a -10?! That’s really bad.
- I have very serious doubts about the Thunder being one of the top teams in their division, let alone their conference, but those doubts will be less existent if Nenad Kristic gets moved out for Serge Ibaka. Ibaka shut down large sections of his basket when the ball was in the Bulls’ hands.
- On the other hand, Jeff Green needs to learn to rebound. Taj was very, very good, but Green was downright awful to the point where giving up at failing to get position off the glass was just giving up on every shot. He completely conceded loose balls to Taj. That’s really bad.
On an unrelated note:
I had a recent laptop crisis that had people telling me I had to give them $50-$100 for the privilege of having my existence acknowledged and that a trial and error process would cost me another $200-$600 for parts and labor — get this — even if the attempts were unsuccessful at solving the problem. I was also told the whole process could max out at two weeks. The worse case scenario, I was told, that it would be a $400 motherboard issue where I’d have to ship it to the manufacturer.
I stumbled on Chicago Gadgets, told them my story and made it clear that I was only paying for a solution to the problem — nothing more for nothing less. The guy behind the counter that day said they always give free estimates. (Seriously.) He said he would try the first option that I was told would be $200 at other places, but the final cost would only be $75 and I’d only be charged if the problem was solved. Awesome.
Not awesome was that he called me the next day and told me it was the motherboard issue that other places and the manufacturer told me would cost $400 and the time of shipping the unit back and forth… And there was a maybe that the problem still wouldn’t be solved.
Chicago Gadgets fixed the motherboard within 48 hours and the final cost was $125. If you’re in Chicago, go to these guys if you’re done being dicked around by used car salesmen in the skin of tech-xperts. Visit their site here.
I have no interest other than how disgusted I was that people were trying to take advantage of me when I was displaying such anxiety and making it clear that I’m not on the budget to play their silly, exploitative games. I just wanted my situation to be respected and someone to fix my fixable problem for me because I was unequipped. It’s nice to know there are reasonable people out there running an honest service shop.