The Knicks shot 67% from three-point range to beat the Bulls, 120-112, Thursday, as Bulls starters are iced with the game in striking distance to close the game. A lot to be pissed off about in this game.
16-for-24. The New York Knicks (2-2) hit 16 out of their 24 3-pt attempts, for God's sake, to beat the Bulls (2-2), 120-112, led by Danilo Gallinari and Toney Douglas. The Knicks only took 32 shots within 10 feet, where they shot 15%, and shot 25% on their long twos (4-for-16).
The Bulls shot 51% on the night to the Knicks' 50% and out-rebounded New York 42-38 in the very fast-paced game of 100 possessions.
Yes, Danilo Gallinari and Toney Douglas were the Knicks' keys to victory after the fact, last night.
"I don't think I've ever played against a team that shot that well as a team," Bulls backup sharpshooter Kyle Korver said after the game.
"Maybe Orlando once or twice. They shot well, but it was our fault for
giving them so many wide open threes. And once they made them they had
"That's what they do," Korver added. "I watched them on NBA TV, their
training camp thing and all they do is shoot threes. It's their
strength, but we did not take that away from them."
Look, when a team shoots like this from 3-pt range and you score 112, you throw your hands up in the air and shake your head, right? To a point. When Luol Deng, James Johnson, Kyle Korver, and Brian Scalabrine are completely incapable of pressuring guys everyone in the damn arena knows are looking to shoot, it's frustrating.
Worse, those four were consistently over-committing to the ball handlers' dribble penetration against a team that doesn't use the dribble penetration, but consistently uses it as a decoy to play inside-out in the half court.
Even worse than that, Scalabrine, Gibson, and JJ were consistently over-committing to forwards in the low post who are incapable of posting up. Hello! You don't need to double team those guys. Especially against a team that's entire at-the-rim game is cutting to the basket off the ball. Committing to the ball handler against the Knicks in the low post just plays matador.
Thibs recognized in his interview with TNT's Craig Sager before the fourth quarter that the Bulls were consistently "not finishing" their defense.
I'm a fan of the help defense. I really am, but that second quarter screamed for the Bulls to shift to the 3-2 zone. It didn't happen. It screamed for the Bulls to dribble into the half court game, which they did well. Unfortunately, every ball handler was passing the ball after the dribble was well-exhausted.
The result was turnovers that handed the Knicks a transition offense that the Bulls were clearly not committed to defend against. And, oh my god, the traveling violations.... You're professional basketball players, for God's sake!
A lot of the Bulls box score looks good, but all of that good from the starters was more than negated by sloppy ball handling and lazy-assed defense.
That said, Kyle Korver lit it up in the fourth quarter and had a season-high 18 off the bench, including going 4-for-6 from 3pt range. His four long shot successes in the last quarter cut the Knicks lead from 16, when all starters were removed with 9:31 remaining in the game, to nine with the Bulls down 108-99 with 4:48 remaining in the game.
The starters did not return into the game, so the bench looked like this for the rest of the so-called contest:
I understand this. Besides Keith Bogans, the starters were completely uncommitted to the rational game plan, according to Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, and Luol Deng. Those weren't their exact words, but listen for yourself and their shame is well noted.
The bench played much better defensively, but they really weren't taking very good care of the ball and Taj -- who played many of those last minutes -- was still completely incapable of defending on the ball or anyone in motion off the ball, for that matter.
Tom Thibodeau pissed me off.
The bench did their job: cut the lead to put you within striking distance when the starters are fatigued or playing terrible. At home, against a bad team, going into a game you're probably going to lose on the road against the best team in the Eastern conference: I have to say you send the starters back into the game for the last four minutes.
A lineup like Noah-Asik/Gibson-Deng-Korver-Rose wouldn't have coddled them for playing bad. With 15-20 minutes of real time on the bench, playing the last four minutes doesn't cross the threshold into the realm of 'too exhausted to challenge the Celtics tomorrow night'.
I understand what Thibs did and it's somewhat reasonable, but every variable screams, "YOU PLAY TO WIN THE GAME!"
Taj Gibson pissed me off.
I love that Taj is thinking offense with the ball at and away from the low post, with and without the ball. He sees the game in the half court like I didn't think he could, but where the hell has his defense gone? He's crashing the boards, but every power forward to whom he's been assigned has relatively torched him because they all have required him to move his feet on the ball handler. This needs to stop.
JJ pissed me off.
-19 happens coming off the bench. -19 in only eight minutes of play when you shoot 1-for-5 from the floor is gross. His two fouls were actually great. They got his ass off the floor.
Brian Scalabrine pissed me off.
For many of the same reasons Taj is pissing me off minus the upside on offense. Scal would be tolerable is he figured out where the damn 3pt line was.
MESSAGE TO SCALABRINE: You suck. You have two assets: shooting threes and help defense. When help opens up a door to get beat in the way your opponent is looking to beat you, stay on your damn man. And for God's sake, spot up behind the damn 3pt line. Stop standing on top of the damn line. It's six god damned inches and extra point on the board.
Scal was out there during the abysmal second quarter that proved to be the difference in the final score and finished the game as a -12 in only seven minutes.
Luol Deng pissed me off.
Do I really need to get into this? The Bulls gave up 26 points on 20 turnovers in a game they lost by eight. Deng had five turnovers (averaging almost 24 per 100 possessions), shot 5-for-13 including 1-for-4 at the rim -- AT THE RIM!!! -- and sagged off whoever the Knicks best shooter was at the time. Were the Knicks hot and a bit lucky? Yeah. Were they lucky Deng's a Bull? Hell yeah.
C.J. Watson pissed me off.
Boy, has he pissed me off. And it isn't because I expect this scrub with little more than two feet and two hands to be like Rose.
I get pissed off when the guy who backs up the franchise player chucks a 26-27 foot three with time on the shot clock in the fourth quarter because he sees the star is ready to come back into the game. Watson did this against Portland. It was a middle finger to Thibs and completely unacceptable.
On top of that, he sucks. He can't shoot, yet every time I look up and see Watson in the game, he's shooting. Bad shots aren't even the issue. It's that he can't hit good shots, yet he can't stop shooting. He's on the floor with Asik setting up down low and he's shooting. JJ on the wing with a decent shot and an open passing lane down, but C.J.'s shooting. He has one of the best 3pt shooters in the game wide open in the corner or coming off a screen, in Kyle Korver, and C.J.'s shooting. And when C.J.'s shooting, C.J.'s missing.
Derrick Rose pissed me off.
There were a handful of possessions where Rose was effective on defense and every one of those, he simply moved his feet. Unfortunately, he was a statue on just about every possession against Douglas' hot hand and Raymond Felton. The Knicks scored at will, but it was more embarrassing that they moved the ball at will in the half court, positioning themselves off the dribble to do so. His pick n' roll defense was embarrassing and D'Antoni must've been licking his chops to exploit it.
Over and over again, when Rose was thinking pass and looking over the half court, he would completely exhaust his dribble, beat the dead horse and pass when the open man was about to no longer be open.
Rose had the whole team on his back in the third quarter to out-gun the Knicks, 31-23, after the Bulls were completely incapable of manufacturing easy buckets and were throwing the ball around carelessly in the 36-22 second quarter, where New York ran away with the game.
To his credit, Rose only had three of those 26 turnovers, his ratio per 100 possessions was under ten, and had a strong 24-14 double-double.
But, yeah, Mr. Franchise Player. At least, play defense against the bad teams and pass before exhausting your dribble. Then, you can be MVP.
OK, I'm done ranting about that train wreck. I completely expect a train wreck tonight in Boston, but you know what? If you're gonna ice the best players for the last nine minutes of a game in striking distance against a bad team on your home court, you damn sure better win the second game of the back-back. I don't care where it is.
You don't believe me? The Bulls have 11 games left in this month and only four or five look like wins. If you're gonna win one that you're 'not supposed to win,' it's tonight's.
Advanced Box Score: Hoopdata