Horny Notes: March 21, 2011 -- Boozer Back Monday, Rose 'Beat Up,' Asik Converting His Athleticism to Execution

Horny Notes: March 21, 2011 -- Boozer Back Monday, Rose 'Beat Up,' Asik Converting His Athleticism to Execution

Get it? "Horny Notes?" Because bulls have horns?... Yeah, anyway, I doubt this type of post will be daily, but when I stumble on a lot of content around the web, I will.

 

  • No one previews Bulls games better than Matt McHale. Honestly, it's partially why I quit them. I can just link to his preview of Monday's Bulls-Kings matchup like this and use my time to do other things at which I'm much better.
  • The good: The Bulls have allowed 100 points or more only 16 times this season -- less than any other team in the NBA, going into Monday's games.

    The bad: They've only scored 100 or more in five of those games.

    The ugly: They've lost 13 of those 16. (Basketball-Reference)

  • Carlos Boozer will play Monday against the Kings after missing the last five games with a sprained ankle:


    Boozer went through shootaround, expected to play. Taj gametime decision. Lu will play.less than a minute ago via √úberSocial

    Taj Gibson was in a walking boot on Sunday after jamming his right big toe and Luol Deng is still nursing his bruised left thigh. (K.C. Johnson, ChiTrib) If Taj can't be mobile, he can't be mobile.

  • Derrick Rose said he feels "beat up" -- in a general sense -- after the Bulls loss to the Pacers on Friday. "Physicially," he said, he's "fine," but the psychological wear-and-tear of the NBA season is beginning to add that challenge to his path. (Nick Friedell, ESPN)
  • Boozer and Joakim Noah haven't had enough time to gel together. The time this will take is unknown, but the value of it is extraordinary, necessary, and apparent when we see it in tidbits. (Friedell):

    "It's going to take some time," Bulls point guard Derrick Rose said. "I really don't know what it's going to take. It's really up to them. It's going to take some time, but I think we can fight things off until they get back."

    Thibodeau has a theory that he will employ if Boozer does play on Monday night.

    "I think he was getting more attention in the post, double teams and people dropping down to him," Thibodeau said. "So we have to find different ways to get him a second look. And I think we're going to the quick swing instead of giving him that second look on the kick out. So then in transition we've got to search him out a little bit more ... The big thing is it gives you a big that you can throw the ball into and he's going to get something good for you."

    Neither Noah nor Boozer seem concerned.

    "Carlos brings a whole different dimension to our team with his scoring ability and what he can do in the post," Noah said. "He's very unique in that way, in his ability to score the ball. And he's definitely going to be a great addition when he comes back.

    "I love being on the court when Carlos is on the court. He brings attention because of what he can do on the pick and roll, and he takes up a lot of space, so I think he's definitely somebody who affects the game."

    Boozer knows he can be the second offensive option the Bulls desperately need -- and didn't have -- in Friday's night loss in Indianapolis. And he knows that he and Noah could form one of the league's best big men combinations.

    "One of the things I'm able to help out [with] is play off my teammates," Boozer said. "I'm able to play off D. Rose great, give him options to pass the ball, and at the same time when you have that threat in the post, they've got to pay you some attention. It gets Kyle [Korver] easier shots. It gets Joakim easier lanes to drive to the basket, same thing for Luol [Deng], easy shots in the lane. I'm hoping to get back out there and help my teammates out."

    As Bulls fans have learned this season, it's one thing to say it and another to do it. With just 14 regular season games left to play, the Bulls need Boozer to come back and be the offensive force they know he can be. And they need him to do it with Noah on the floor.

    If he does, they become even more dangerous. If he doesn't, the long playoff run that everyone in Chicago is expecting may not come to pass.

    I said before that Boozer is the most efficient scorer on the Boozer when you expand efficiency past points-per-possession to the rate of converting possessions into buckets. Missed shots can be like light turnovers and his percentages are just too high to not be fed the ball faster and more often.

  • Rose's OT foul in Indy was a result of a botched counter-PNR rotation. Despite such constant reaction-based movement and physicality, the Bulls don't have issues with fouling because they execute with elite timing. On that play, not so much. (Sebastian Pruiti at NBA Playbook)
  • Rose's MVP candidacy is still "seriously flawed," a fan contribution to Yahoo! Sports notes. Once you pass the hyperbole he employs to make his point and look at his sub-points for their substance, outside of his exaggerated tone, the case against Rose is still incredibly valid. This on top of the fact that the Bulls' defense is far more valuable to the team that just about anything on the offensive end and that arguments implying Rose is winning with a relative pile of shit around him are so asinine they shouldn't even be taken seriously. Not to mention, the 'what would his team be without him?' argument favors Dirk Nowitzki, Dwight Howard, and other individuals around the league over Rose.

    As "BullsBlogger" wrote at Blog-a-Bull earlier in March: "MVP arguments (the predominantly mainstream ones) are usually silly, and these past few games show why: Rose's play dipped slightly, Bulls won anyway, yet those wins strengthen an MVP case built on saying his teammates would be nowhere without him. And anytime you invoke the team in what is an individual award in the first place...you're probably doing it wrong. That all said: 'deserved' or not, Rose was correct preseason: winning takes care of everything. If the Bulls get that #1 seed, Rose will be MVP, and we can all be happy with that outcome."

  • The Bulls four games this week are two back-to-back sets. Monday and Tuesday against the Kings (17-51) at the United Center and the Hawks (40-30) in Atlanta; then, Friday and Saturday against the Grizzlies (38-32) at the UC and a virtual home game against the Bucks (28-41) in Milwaukee.

    Despite looking awful on Friday in the tailend of a back-to-back against the Pacers, the Bulls are 12-6 in the tail-end games of 18 B2B sets and 14-4in the first games. Even better, the Bulls are a dominant 30-4 at home and riding a 12-game winning streak in Chicago. What's worthy of worry is the Bulls fairly low plus-minus efficiency in those tail games of only +2.0 and only +1.0 in the 36 total games of those sets. (NBAStuffer.com) Loses in the second set this week would be disappointing, but nothing in this data bodes well for Tuesday.

  • Omer Asik's athleticism is unquestioned, but his he's still fine tuning his basketball I.Q. and in-game intuition, Thibs recently said. (Friedell):

    "He's been great; you can't say enough about him," Thibodeau said. "He's serious, he's a diligent worker, very bright. And now this is his second or third time through against some of these teams, and he keeps learning, getting better, and more confident. But he's come in with a defensive mindset from the start, and he has great instincts."

    Both Asik and Thibodeau have noted recently that the hope is that with a little more work, the 24-year-old's offensive game will get better. The veteran coach believes that progression will come.

    "Sometimes he's probably a little too fast," Thibodeau said of Asik's offensive moves in the post. "But I think you're starting to see his passing right now, and he's been a great screener, a great offensive rebounder. Very smart. He helps you execute. He's comfortable away from the basket passing the ball. He sees things, he reads how plays are being defended. So I think it's just a matter of time before he gets a lot more confident [with his] back to the basket. He's great on pick and rolls rolling to the basket. Right now in his post game, he has to slow down just a little bit."

  • The Bulls are skyrocketing in power rankings across the spectrum of analysts. They're #2 in Marc Stein's power rankings at ESPN, have moved up to #3 in BBR's Schedule-Adjusted Offensive and Defensive Ratings, but have fallen from #2 to #3 in Kurt Helin's at ProBasketballTalk, for what it's worth. John Hollinger's simulator at ESPN has the Bulls the greatest favorites in the NBA to make the Finals as 38.2%, win the title at 21.4%, and a 63.1% chance at the top seed in the East, going into Monday's games.
  • Bulls playoff tickets will go on sale Friday. (K.C.)

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  • Hardest position to play in the NBA right now is the PG position and D Rose has killed the other top elite guards. Thats just another notch for his MVP resume. Every night he is going up against some of the best PG's in the league...he doesnt get a day off.

  • I think he also produces 45% or something of the Bulls offense, which is more then any other player in the NBA. Read that stat a couple weeks ago.

  • In reply to Csharp:

    That's a great stat, especially with the points he scores combined with those that come off his assists. I like to see the second chance points from his dribble penetration misses on top of that, relative to the rest of the league. With his low turnover rate -- relative to historically great PGs -- his misses don't always translate into failed possessions for the team. I think that's important to assess with his fairly pedestrian TS% -- that there's a method to his seemingly mad usage rate past immediate buckets, in the risk:reward sense.

    He's amazing and extremely valuable. Whether his value is so exceptional over other amazing, valuable players is arguable.

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