Bulls dominate Pistons while Scalabrine love continues to unnerve me

Well I didn’t think this game would take a whole lot of analysis. The Pistons are one of the many terrible teams in the NBA. Has the NBA become more top heavy or does it feel that way because we’re at the top now?

Not going to break down individual players too much in a blowout, because the dynamics are different when most of the possessions are meaningless. So instead, quick thoughts from the game:

Rose/Boo1zer, nice job in carrying the offense tonight. The Pistons couldn’t stop them, and they were very efficient on the night.

The Bulls defense was great, but let’s be honest, the Pistons offense is simply terrible.

What happened to you Ben Gordon? I know many Bulls fans didn’t have a lot of love for the guy, but he went from border line all-star to mediocre rotation player awfully fast. Granted, it’s painful to watch how badly assembled this Pistons team is playing with a bunch of shoot first undersized SGs and perhaps the worst front court in the NBA.

What do you think of the Scalabrine thing?

Does this bother you? See the thing is, I like Scalabrine. He’s a cool dude to talk to. He’s a thoughtful player, he tries hard, puts in a lot of effort, and has a great basketball IQ. If he wants to, someday, Scal will be a head coach.

So it’s not that I don’t like him, but because I actually have some respect for the guy that I just feel a bit annoyed that the crowd goes nuts when he touches the ball.

I don’t feel sorry for Scal, I mean I’ll take a million bucks a year to be the team mascot and have fans mock me like a clown when I go in and dare me to shoot just for the heck of it. However, I still feel a bit queasy about the guy coming in as a human victory cigar to mocking adulation.

Can John Lucas unseat Watson as the backup PG?

Watson has generally played well. He has a PER of 17.1 on the season. He’s shot 46% from the three point line and is averaging 16.8pts and 9 assists, 4.2 boards, and 3.2 steals per 36 minutes. Those are truly great numbers for Watson.

However, John Lucas is playing tremendous basketball himself. Unlike Watson, he’s looked much more steady rather than scoring in fits and bunches and having stretches of poor play. I still believe Watson is the man, and his defense is much more physical than Lucas’s, but I have to say again…

How the hell has John Lucas not been playing in the NBA before this year? Is this guy just playing THAT far over his head? if he keeps playing this well, we won’t be able to keep him for the league min next year, and I feel really good about him as my third PG right now.

He’s the perfect combination of a vet who won’t demand big minutes, signs for the minimum, and can still come in and be productive when his number is called. It’s a lot tougher than you think to find guys with those qualities.

Nice to see Thibs keep the minutes down

I would have liked to see them perhaps even a bit lower, but there’s certainly nothing to complain about, and Thibodeau went to Lucas to start the fourth instead of continuing his recent trend of playing Rose through the entire second half.

Tomorrow’s game against Minnesota will be a lot more fun, I can’t wait to see Rubio against Rose.


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    I agree about the Scal thing, it's gotten worse than the free Big Mac thing was/is. What bothers me most, though, is not how Scal must feel to be a player/mascot (one step away from the Jackie Moon player/coach), but instead how the other players probably feel about it-- especially the other bench guys. Taj Gibson tries hard and is much more important to the team, but gets no love as he exits for the bench. Instead, the crowd goes wild over the White Mamba.

    Two other things bothered me about this game. First, Noah didn't have a FG attempt. Second, Deng struggled again on offense. Those are recent trends that predate this game (not that Noah hasn't shot at all before, but he hasn't been looking for much offense besides his iffy-at-best hook shots). Seeing them again makes me worry-- worry that Noah might have regressed, and that Deng may already be wearing down.

  • dominating performance by the bulls. they showed the talent gap between the two teams. the team has consistently showed everyone that they're the deepest in the league. they've been playing without rip and cj and they're doing a great job, imagine when rip gets back.

    rose vs rubio I should be an intriguing match-up. love is also facing his future team;) man i hope he doesn't sign the extension.

  • I kind of get the Scal thing. I think Scal is a bit like the people who go nuts watching their kids play sport because they never were any good at it ... it's the average white guy in the crowd's chance to live through somebody else achieving their dreams they never could. Scal is a guy they can relate to since he looks about as unlikely a basketball player as you'll get, they can think "If only I was a foot taller I could be doing that".

    I still think it's dumb, but I can get where it comes from.

    I think John Lucas is just having a few good games. I mean what are the chances that a guy whose career is undrafted to bench warmer to out of the NBA for half a decade all of a sudden is good enough to be a backup PG on a contender? Far more likely that he's just played the best 60 minutes or so of his life and he'll regress to the mean soon.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    Yeah I'd say Lucas is playing well above his head right now, but to be fair he's not "backup PG on a contender"- he's the 3rd string PG on a contender.

    But honestly, there are guys who have followed similar career paths who went on to be much more than just backups on a contender- Raja Bell and John Starks pop to mind immediately.

  • On at least one sequence, Korver straight locked down Ben Gordon on D. It was sad to see as a former BG fan. Stacey and Funk were trying to be nice about it on the broadcast, but they were basically saying the same things at Doug: WTF happened to this guy?

  • It's so good to see Lucas play, I am almost embarasseed to say, I didn't think he could play. I thought the 12, 13, 14, and 15th slots on this team should be for players just like the Lucas Tonight--for players who aspired to play in the NBA would would get some experience at that level. I like Scalabrine but I think he could be just as effective as a coach on the current team and not take up the space of an aspiring new big man player and we need players who can contribute to team play and not as team mascot.
    Ok, it's good that the Bulls beat a bad team like Detroit, especially after the Alanta loss, but that Atlanta loss made me feel like the Bulls still needed Keith Bogans for their rhythm--or for a time when Hamilton is on the DL. Ronnie Brewer fills in well--but when he leaves the game there is no one who can play defense against the other team's star shooting guard. Hamilton fits in well with the Bulls but, I wonder how long it will take for his injury to heal--and while he's hurt Bogans earned at least an opportunity to stay on the team and play--and the Bulls can afford to play a luxury tax for someone just like Bogans who contributed to the character of the teams persona. Bogans excellent defensive play contributed to the Bulls current success a lot more than Scalabrine did or has done--and just look who they kept and who the Bulls let go. And the Bulls just wonder why star players don't want to play for the Bulls--duh??/
    Is Deng hurt or playing hurt because the Bulls think he's super human or what? Whenever I don't see him as part of the offense and still have long minutes I often wonder if he is overused or if he is abused and playing hurt. Is that what's going on?

  • What happened to Gordon is exactly what I predicted would happen, he got paid and he quit.

    On what planet was Gordon a near all-star, Deng was likely closer to being an all-star and he was probably never even actually considered.

    Gordon always struck me as a selfish or self centered guy who only cared about getting his, points and money. When he was with the Bulls he got his points, to get his (extra)money he went to Detroit.

    I feel vindicated to see him rot in NBA hell(Detroit) for the rest of his career, he is getting exactly what he asked for and deserves.

    I am also feel vindicated that the Ben Gordon debate has definitively been decided in favor of those of us who were against keeping him.

    Within 2 years I expect to be vindicated on the Boozer front also. In fact I am fairly certain that the Boozer fan club is virtually identical to the Gordon fan club. Will they ever learn.

    As for the Scal thing, I commented last night that I find it embarasing to the city of Chicago and its fan base, but then again Chicago is Obamatown.

    Actually, I thought that Rose's play looked or felt rather pedestrian, I was somewhat surprised to see that he put up 22 & 8(assists), Boozer supposedly looked "great" at least on offense and also put up 22 & 8(rebounds) an interesting dichotomy to say the least.

    Pargo's play has been an unexpected plus, but he is probably just too small to replace a guy like on Watson on a permanent basis.

    As you mentioned Thibs could have easily gotten some guys more rest, especially Deng, who at one point had played the first 21 consecutive minutes of the first half. Luckily Deng only had to play 13 straight minutes in the second half before getting almost the entire fourth off.

    Butler should have played the entire fourth, Gimme some Jimmy.

    Noah still looks like he is struggling physically, I have no idea why. I really would like to see him get some time on the floor with Asik and more with Taj.

    Mostly a boring game, Detroit is really bad on both sides of the floor so you really can't make much of anything in this game other than the W in the standings.

  • "Deng, who at one point had played the first 21 consecutive minutes of the first half"

    No, he hadn't.

    [CHI 31-24] Noah Free Throw 1 of 2 (1 PTS)
    Gordon Substitution replaced by Wilkins 05:18
    05:18 Deng Substitution replaced by Korver

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    OK, so it was 19 and a half consecutive minutes.
    Still the point BigWay made stands. Thibs regularly plays Deng for excessively long stretches without a breather, even when he is not playing well.

    And the breather is Jimmy Butler, especially against these lower level teams where he could get some experience with little risk to the team's W-L record.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Actually, it was 18 and a half (if you're rounding from the 18:42 he spent on the floor), not 19 and a half.

    Deng is the team's best perimeter defender, that's why he plays a lot of minutes even when he "is not playing well".

    Tonight's a pefect example-

    Prince was 2/5 for 4 points in the 12:07 with Deng guarding him.

    Prince was 2/4 for 5 points in the final 5:18 of the half, with Deng on the bench.

    Then he was 1/3 for 2 points in the 10:27 of the 2nd half that Deng was guarding him.

    Deng's shot wasn't falling tonight, but he still had 2 assists and zero turnovers.

    He was on the floor for 18:42 of game time, but there were three timeouts and a quarter break in there.

    Deng played under 34 minutes tonight, I certainly don't have any problems with that.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    21 minutes vs 19 minutes is quibbling which is what stat geeks do, and misses the point, which obviously Edward got and you don't.

    You keep watching the stat sheet, I'll keep watching the game.

    I'll take my 40+ years of watching nearly every Bulls game against any stat geek any time anywhere. At best all these stats only confirm what a keen eye already sees, it is not the other way around.

    Basketball is not an exercise in bean counting, it is an interaction between live human beings who are all individually different.

    However, anytime an NBA player plays an entire quarter or more straight he is going to suffer from some type of fatigue. Anytime this happens and it is not the last game of the season(in the playoffs)it is a bad move by the coach. Doing so game in game out during the season, especially against a JV squad like Detroit is borderline assinine. It will have consequences when it counts.

    Heck Dengs production already seems to be slipping and we are only 10 games in, I believe that is .1515151515151515151515151515% of the season, is that precise enough for you.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    You are right about stats. There are too many complex factors which impact stats. It is good to use stats to get a direction but just relying on that is really living in a vacumn.
    What the stat guys do is since they are correct some of the time ...they start using that as their propaganda.
    That's why some of these Wall Street guys predicting economics based on "complicated formulas" are looking like fools most of the time. It is too complex to consider all impacting factors.
    I am sure they will eventually get where they are more right than wrong.

    The thing about anybody outside a basketball organization is they do not have all the facts to even do a stat analysis. That's why these stat sites or stats are so out of touch with reality. I would probably trust a stat(which we will not get as a fan) from inside the Bulls organization where it is more accurate and it is not as simple as everybody thinks.

  • In reply to BigWay:


  • In reply to BigWay:

    Yeah, Deng's production sure is slipping...

    17 points on 7/13 and 2/3 from behind the arc so far in 27 minutes...

    Can you say OVER-REACTION!!! LOL

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    One more meaningless statistic to show you once and for all how all this talk of "fatigue" is simply ridiculous this early in the season:

    All six NBA teams that have completed back-to-back-to-back stretches have won the finale.


    Let's hope the Bulls hang on to break this streak tonight.

  • I can't believe how well JL3 has played. Interesting enough JJ Barea gave Miami fits in the NBA finals. I don't see JL3 doing that but it might be worth it playing him along side Watson some.

  • Joakim Noah... I don't know if it's the weights or it's Thibs or what but something is going on with him. He lost his magic.

  • In reply to SoulEater7:

    I think you have found the reason. No more "magic" mushrooms for Jo because of the new drugs rules in the CBA.

    Seriously though he just looks really depressed as if he's not enjoying the game. When your game is reliant on your high energy enthusiasm and you are struggling to be motivated then his recent form is the result. He needs to be in a better mental position; how he gets there only Jo knows. I wish him all the best at finding his mojo again.

  • This is interesting, General manager Gar Forman is scouting this week's Development League showcase in Reno, Nev. With Derrick Rose's contract extension beginning next season on top of eight-figure contracts for Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng, the Bulls might need some minimum-salary players to round out the roster.

  • Doug, do you know if there is something wrong with Realgm?

  • We are constantly saying the Bulls need another go to guy. The reality is we have him. When Booz is used in the high post PnPop or even the high post PnR that he and JL3 ran well last night we will get the most out of him. Check his Utah history of play and last nights game was a typical Boozer game. I'm glad that Thibs has realised that sometimes you can't force a square peg in a round hole and the coach has to adjust to the skill set of the players you have. Hopefully he will do the same with KK who is a great spot-up 3pt shooter; he is not Ray Allen or Rip who run around all day to take a running shot. That is Thibs development and he is showing he is able to adjust.
    This is a give and take situation and I believe because Booz has shown willing to improve his matador defence that Thibs is rewarding this with running more plays on offence that Booz is comfortable with; and thats a win win for the Bulls and all us fans.
    Just an aside; I thought Booz had a tough match-up with Monroe. I have followed Monroe from G'town and he is a class player. He has an incredible skill set but has always seemed as though he wants to defer to others. I think he is getting over that and if his mental strength to dominate continues he is going to be a very very good player in this league. Hopefully the Pistons can sort out their squad so the Monroe/Knight/HighDraftee2012 combination are able to move forward.

  • In reply to Jersey66:

    Booz will have a tough matchup tonight against KLove but as Amir Johnson showed last night if you are prepared to play tough box-out defence on him you stop half of his game. So Carlos, don't watch tape of your offence last night against Detroit as we/you know that is what you can do; watch the T'Wolves game and watch how Amir defended KLove.

  • Scal is the Semi Pro of the NBA. As Doug pointed out, he is very much a circus clown in the fans eyes. I'm predicting two steals for Derrick tonight against Rubio and a few broken ankles as well.

  • Anyone have the stats on Derrick's turnovers per game? Seems like they may be up from last year.

  • In reply to Jmax:

    Answered my own question: 2.8/3.4/3.6
    I don't know if it's the double teams that are causing his increase in TOs, but I would like to see the average go down.

  • In reply to Jmax:

    Can it also be that his eyes are more focussed on his teammates because he is trying to pass more rather than just drive to the basket controlling the ball?
    Also, some of his turnovers are sometimes because of him trying to play too fast(my guess).

    One thing about Boozer which is under-rated is he can pass from the post position decently(not great but good). The problem is he doesn't have the skill to back down his defender and shoot to introduce that uncertainity on the defensive side. That would have made him a better passer.

  • I'm gonna be the voice in favor of the Scalabrine chant. I don't find it embarrassing at all. It's one of the things I love about this town. If the crowd wanted to see him trip over himself or get blocked by the rim I could see how that would be shameful. But all they want to see is him play his game, knocking down threes and making heady passes. At a time in the game where fans in 9/10 nba cities would be heading for the parking lot, the UC is chanting in support of a guy at the end of the bench. What's not to love about that?

  • Doug....you've been here for a while.

    the Scalabrine love is a Chicago tradition...consistently cheering for the worst guy on the team when he gets some minutes during garbage time and going NUTS when he scores.

    For reference...look at the way the Chicago Stadium crowd responded to the finest basketball player ever to wear high knee socks...Granville Waiters.

  • Surprised you feel that Lucas is playing so well. I don't get that impression at all when watching. He's shooting well, but that's about it. He's overmatched on defense and gets beat pretty consistently - when Will Bynum towers over you, there's a problem. Additionally, the only offense they run with Lucas is the pick and roll. And Lucas, while small, is not quick. He has trouble getting by his defender and rarely can turn the corner. If he does, he almost never gets all the way to the rim. It takes a long time to develop and the Bulls end up taking a long-ish jump shot with less than 5 seconds on the shot clock. Granted, he (and the guys he passes to) have been hitting pretty consistently. But a lot of that is luck and the law of averages says those percentages will not maintain for any extended length of time. His lack of size and speed - and the subsequent need to constantly run pick and roll to create a shot - produce a stagnant offense. And while his jumper covers for some of that, I don't see him being an effective long-term solution as even a backup. Not just for the Bulls, but any team. He's right at home at that 3rd PG spot.

  • In reply to stakfry526:

    Glad someone else said it. I agree completely. The only thing he gives you is shooting. He doesn't set his teammates up, even Watson is vastly superior in this area. He dances around with the ball too much, and that's annoying in itself, but it also stops the ball. I was one of the people saying not to worry about a 3rd string guy, still am, but let's not get crazy saying Lucas is a threat to take CJ's job.

  • I think the Scal thing is just silly and people having fun. I doubt for a minute any other Bull cares...certainly not Taj pining for cheers....its a non issue.

    Watson is of course still the man when back but its nice to know you can throw JL3 in there and not have to close your eyes and hold your breath....he actually is a perfect 3rd PG after all so we can collectively zip that pointless topic.

    Deng needs more rest so it would be nice to see Butler get some burn here and there even if its around end of quarters with timeouts to get him resting during dead balls etc anything. Noah needs to get on a roll but its tough for such a high energy player with this schedule...more rest needed there too imo.

    Otherwise lets keep piling up wins and stay healthy...Go Bulls

  • One thing I noticed was a John Lucas and Boozer pick and roll that was executed perfectly with Boozer being fouled at the rim. If there is one thing the Bulls lack, it's generating fouls which could help during scoring droughts and I don't know if Rose has trouble with his handles or vision during the PNR but he has to work on it with Boozer and maximize the offensive skills of this player and make his life easier as well. Boozer has to also set better picks instead of those phantom ones. Boozer is best when in motion instead of a traditional back to basket post player.

  • I think the Scals thing is more like the crowd chanting for Rudy. I don't think Scals is clown and I don't think people are mocking him or the team when they chant for him to get in the game.

    I think people recognize Scal's hard work and value to the team despite his obvious lack of athletic gifts. If you watch his interactions with his teammates they respect him and value his opinion. They also obviously try to get him buckets when he's in. I think people recognize this and combined with the fact that a Scalabrine sighting is like lighting the victory cigar, it's turns into a celebration of Bulls win.

    My *only* problem with Scals last night was the way he got his points - a cherry picking fast break pull up J with about 30 seconds to go. That's not classy when you're up 20+. It's running up the score -- even if that score came from Scals. He should have pulled it out an drained the clock - anyone else on the team would have done that, and Scals *usually* would. I think he got caught up in the moment.

    The deal with Scals is that If he's going to score, it MUST be done the right way and classy, or else the other team will think we're mocking them when we put him in and that could lead to retribution in bad ways - "oh, you're let Scalabrine cherry pick to run up the score when you're up 20? Okay, let's see how Mr. Rose feels about me taking him out next time he's in the lane." ....That's what scares me about Scalabrine.

  • I really wish Hollinger would get over himself and his obsession with stats. 76ers atop the power rankings... really?


    Is he still bitching about Rose's PER from last season?

  • In reply to Jmax:

    This proves the unreliability of looking at stats in a vacuum, out of context and in small sample sizes.

    Collins has the Sixers playing well, but they are not the 96 Bulls, or 72 Lakers despite what the "fancy" stats might say. First in both offensive and defensive efficiency with a difference of 15 points ppg, or for you nigglers 14.92.

    I believe that even Hollinger might expect some regression to the mean. In his defense, isn't he a college math or statistics professor.

  • In reply to Jmax:

    76ers are playing well right now so this is nothing against them, but this is another example of why the PER ratings are a joke.

  • In reply to NateTags:

    I agree. It is so ridiculous to say that 76ers are the top team in the NBA when they might get spanked by 30 points by Miami if they play them. It is always one of the top 5/6 teams in the fan/media's eyes which win the c'ship every year and 76ers are definitely not in that.

  • Speaking of advance stats verifying what we already (know)see, the Bulls with Rip on the floor are scoring 113 points per 100 possessions(one of the best units in the league), less than 100 without him.

    So despite Doug's concerns about Rip not being efficient enough individually the Bulls as a unit are much more efficient offensively with him. Which I would say was obvious to anyone watching the games, even if it is only a small sample size so far.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    You can take that stat to the bank BigWay :-) I'm liking our SG combo....lets hope Rip gets back soon.

  • The Scal cheering is getting on my nerves big time. It is no longer funny. I noticed that DRose did not move from the bench to greed him as Rip Hamilton did when the game was over. Anyway, the big issue for the Bulls is Noah's terrible playing. I do not know what can be done at this point, but he is a big liability.

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