Bulls defense make Wizards' offense disappear

Bulls defense make Wizards' offense disappear
Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo, Chicago Tribune

The NBA team in Washington should have changed their nickname back to the Bullets for one night, because I’m sure most of their fans wanted one after watching the first half of the Bulls’ 96-78 win over the Wizards in the Verizon Center last night.

This was an ugly game from the opening tip, at least if you’re a Wiz fan. The Bulls were ahead 28-16 after 12 minutes, and 52-26 at halftime. The Wiz did make a semi-run in the 3rd quarter, getting the lead under double-digits for a minute or two- but the Bulls simply picked up the defensive pressure when that happened, and the Wiz resorted to just going one-on-one on offense.

That, of course, is a death wish against a team that defends like the Bulls do. In Noah, Gibson, Butler and Hinrich, the Bulls have four elite defenders for much of a game, and the only way to beat them is with quick ball and player movement.

The Bulls were again led in scoring by DJ Augustin, who put up 25 points in 30 minutes while shooting 6/11 from behind the arc. He also had four assists and zero turnovers. Noah was outstanding as well, claiming his sixth consecutive double-double with 21 points and 12 rebounds on 9/13 shooting.

Hinrich had an outstanding 28 minutes, scoring 11 points on 4/6 shooting (3/4 on 3’s). He also chipped in five assists vs zero turnovers. Boozer added 16 points on 6/12 shooting, and Jimmy Butler added a game-high 9 assists.

This game was a snoozefest from the beginning, so I figure I’ll share something funny I read this morning. This comes from a Bulls message forum, I won’t name it because I don’t want to embarass the person ( a retired moderator on the forum, no less) who made the comment, I’ll just say it’s the one that is mostly run by folks who are only interested in ripping on the front office and the majority of the roster.

Something is fishy with Carlos Boozer. He’s played 24 minutes EXACTLY in 23 games. He’s played it precisely in the past 7 games.

I know there’s set rotations, but somebody is TIMING Carlos Boozer’s time on the court. We may be calling time outs just to get him out of the game at certain times. Because that anomaly is just weird.

Of course, anyone who actually watches the games knows that there is NOTHING weird at all here, and that there is no anomaly. And the Bulls certainly aren’t calling time-outs to get Boozer off the court.

He plays the first and third quarters, and that’s it. And I really don’t see any other way Thibs could work the rotation- unless he moves Boozer to the bench and makes Taj the starter, and we all know that’s not going to happen.

That being said, depending on who the Bulls get in the playoffs, Boozer might get even less minutes in the post-season. The Nets have gone to a small-ball lineup with Pierce starting at PF, and obviously there is no way Boozer can guard him out to the 3pt line.

That would seem to be an ideal situation for Boozer on offense, where he can take advantage of his strength to bully Pierce in the low block. But as we’ve all seen, Boozer isn’t much of a low-post scorer nowadays, even with smaller defenders guarding him.

He’s never been much of a defender, but Boozer doesn’t even attempt to rotate properly on defense any more. Thibs is probably hoping to see a lot of small-ball in the playoffs, it gives him the perfect excuse to play Dunleavy more at PF. That gets the team more offense on the floor, without hurting the defense too much.






Filed under: Analysis, Game Recaps, News

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    Don Ellis started covering sports professionally when he was 15. The same year (1980), as a student assistant at Seeger Memorial High School in West Lebanon, IN, he was one of the first in the world to use, study and implement analytics in basketball. He attended Daytona State College and Ball State University, and some of his past credits include InsideHoops (NBA Runaround: The NBA According to Ellis) and ESPN Florida (The Florida Sports Reporters), where he was fortunate enough to work with many rising stars, including NFL Network's Dan Hellie, Redskins coach Jay Gruden, Magic radio and TV personality Dante Marchitelli, and WSB-TV (Atlanta) Sports Director Zach Klein. In addition to running the Bullsville blog and officiating basketball, baseball and football for the KHSAA, he is also a bass player and vocalist who writes and produces music in his spare time (you may remember his internet hit "I Hate Eddy Curry"). He's a 3rd-generation Cubs fan, a Bulls fan since the days of Van Lier and Sloan, and a life-long New England Patriots fan. He's seen Primus 9 times and thinks Les Claypool walks on water. By far his greatest accomplishment is being a father of three and grandfather of one.

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