Chicago Bulls look for answers against the Magic

The Bulls have lost three of their last four. Two in blowouts, one against the worst team in the NBA, and their win was a hard fought contest against the second worst team in the NBA. The energy is down, the defense is bad, the team is struggling.

Better get this one because Miami is coming

If the Bulls fail to beat the Magic tonight, then they’ll likely be staring a three game losing streak in the face as they travel to Miami for a Friday night game against the Heat. Unless LeBron and Wade have simultaneous ACL tears or tag team cross body tackle some refs to get suspended, the Bulls aren’t winning that game.

That’s what makes the Bobcats loss so disappointing in some respects. You’ve got to get those games against terrible teams, because you’re not going to get the ones against the great teams too often. The Bulls could have been rolling into Miami on a three game win streak, if they simply took care of business. Now they’ll hope to simply be coming off a win.

The Magic have no offense

What fixes an ailing defense? Hopefully a matchup against the second worst offensive team in the NBA. The Magic rank 29th in the league in offensive rating and struggle to get the ball in the hoop. On top of that, the Magic will be missing Glen Davis and may be without E’twaun Moore and Jameer Nelson whom are both game-time decisions.

Of course, the Magic lost to the Heat by just two points in overtime despite missing the trio last game. They can obviously play hard and play well against good competition and sometimes in a losing season the bench players bring more energy than the starters who’ve been getting beat up.

That said, the Magic don’t have many shot creators on their squad and will rely on ball movement and team play to get the ball in the basket. Traditionally an aggressive Bulls defense could be counted on to shut down such an attack, but recently the Bulls have struggled to defend as a team, close out on their rotations or get back on defense.

If the Bulls go into this game with the same mental approach as the past four, they’ll likely lose. Chicago may also be missing starting PG Kirk Hinrich for the contest and Joakim Noah’s listed as questionable.


Why is it every article about Rose has to include how he’s not close to returning? Not sure, but it seems par for the course that any time something positive is mentioned about Rose it must immediately be followed up by “but he’s no where near playing, so don’t even think about it”.

At any rate, according to multiple reports, Derrick Rose will begin traveling with the team on road trips, and he’s going through the non contact portion of practice. Prior to suiting up, he’ll apparently need to go through full contact practice many times without having any pain the next day.

I think Bulls fans are fine taking the cautious approach with Rose. We’re all anxious to see him, but not so anxious we’d dare rush him out there. My prediction on a Rose return has always been end of January or immediately following the all-star break. If we’re to believe the general vibe coming out of the team then end of January isn’t happening [even if he’s healthy enough by then].

Nate Robinson guaranteed

Nate Robinson will stick around for the rest of the season as his contract became fully guaranteed when the Bulls didn’t waive yesterday. Chicago only has a smidgeon of room under their hard cap and isn’t likely to use any of it anyway because it would add more tax payments.

Thus, the Bulls aren’t about to eat any salary whatsoever in order to turnover the roster. It’d be insane to waive Robinson anyway. If you wanted to waive a minimum salary player then you’d first dump Radmanovic or Mohammed who’ve both done nothing even remotely useful. Robinson’s been awesome for a minimum salary guy and a big contributor to many of the Bulls wins and one of the few watchable players on the team.

His style of play probably doesn’t work well for many teams in the league, but a team like Chicago which is desperate for shot creators really needs a guy like Robinson to help them find some buckets when the rest of the team just passes the ball around the perimeter scared to shoot because they have no offensive skills.


Leave a comment
  • Its time to tank the rest of the season or get creative and make some trades. This team and the organization haz no future plan in place, no high draft picks coming, and are hanging there hopes on their star player coming off a very serious knee injury with basically no other offensive scorers that can score at a descent clip. I know its wishful thinking tho.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Creative and GarPax go together like Oil and Water. Which is why they have no future plan in place outside of wait for the Heat and Thunder to age. Although by that point Rose will have aged or left so that is a stupid plan.

    I have no idea why Reinsdorf keeps these two idiots around. Paxson is a terrible talent evaluator and team builder. They should have dissmantled and retooled last year via trades and the draft as anyone with half a brain saw this mess coming.

  • I tell ya, I'm really worried about whether Marco Belinelli or Richard Hamilton starts at SG. Especially when you consider Derrick Rose will be coming back, and maybe they make a 'run.'

    Deng is shooting .430 from the floor and .295 from three. Joakim the All Star Noah with 13ppg and 10 rebounds plus four count em' four assists! I mean what could you even get for Deng or Noah right now?

    Then you've got the Bears targeting a 59 year old O.C. for head coach? And the sChlUBS, they suck and always will. Hawks, sorry, I don't give a crap about Hockey.

    Chicago is littered with 'conservative' slash cheap franchises that are not about winning. They're about profits. And the suck butt crack fan base of Chicago is nothing more then an enabler and deserves exactly what it demands which is nothing. I repeat the Bulls suck and are a joke of a franchise around the league. Post season they scare nobody with or without Rose. Even against a struggling newly formed Miami team in the ECF they nearly got swept and Rose's playoff numbers have sucked against them and the Pacers his own division rivals. I have no confidence with the awful offensive talent base around him that Derrick will not get double and tripple teamed out of existence in a playoff setting.

    Good thing the franchise face slash fan pacifier Rose signed that long term deal. Did I mention Jerry Reinsdorf and his Chicago Bowels suck elephant crack?? Jerry you are a thief and ultra-capitlaist fan slash human devaluing greed baron.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    You really need to get out more and stop living in a bubble.

  • I've watched every Heat game this year. Trust me Doug, during the regular season, they're capable of laying an egg against anyone, anywhere, at any time.

  • Couldn't be that the Bulls downturn both offensively and defensively coincided with the return of Klank Hinbrick, could it?

    While Hinbrick and R.I.P. Hamilton were away, the Bulls displayed fluidity and energy on both sides of the ball with growing consistency. Carlos Boozer was even seen DIVING FOR LOOSE BALLS in more than 1 game; that was how pervasive the change of pace was for the team.

    Kirk Bogans comes back, and the Bulls go back to being maddeningly mediocre.

    Say whatever you want, but you won't be able to convince me that at least some of the players take a morale hit when they see BUMS (Klank and R.I.P.) starting ahead of players who clearly are performing in a superior manner (Robinson & Belinelli).

    Taking it a step further, knowing that performance does not equate to starting on this team, why would someone like a Dwight Howard want to come here via trade demand? Why would a FA want to sign, knowing that no matter how well they may perform relatively speaking, they may not get a chance to start?

  • The troubling part is not that they are losing but how they are losing. We all knew this team didn't have the scoring prowess to match with the big boys of the league but we were hoping they would be competitive and be held together by great efforts in rebounding and defending.............well that rebounding and defending hasn't been there and thats what is troubling. The Bulls are playing with low energy and are giving up easy layups while not rebounding that well. You almost get the sense that the players are starting to quit and maybe are worn down by Thibodeau's demands and long practices??? Are the Bulls players getting worn out by Tom Thibodeau which many feared could happen. Reinsdorf has made it clear he will not return Rose until March even if he's ready to go by late january so this Bulls team better get that energy and passion going or we should simply sit out Rose the rest of the year and get into the lottery and be ready to ship off luol deng and other moves this offseason.

  • In reply to Defense-Rebound13:

    I think Reinsdorf may be onto something.

    Say the doctors "clear" Rose to play 2/1. If he is activated, do you honestly think Thibs will hesitate to have him in at the 2:00 minute mark of the 4th quarter of a 20 point game; after logging 35+ minutes? PUHLEEZE.

  • The vitriol directed at GarPax is misguided. I can better understand when it's directed at to Reinsdorf, but even then I don't see a time when spending more would have changed anything substantially.

    GarPax are bad salesmen, which I will elaborate upon, and they made a bad trade for Tyrus Thomas. That's about all the bad things I can say about them.

    GarPax are good drafters and team builders. How many teams can find talent with the 26th pick like Taj Gibson? Or the 30th pick like Jimmy Butler? They found an NBA player in the 2nd round, which is almost unheard of, in Chris Duhon. Noah was a gutsy draft choice and to some degree, so was choosing Rose over Beasley. They also made an excellent coaching hire, though it took them a few tries to get it right (Thibs may not be perfect but he's very, very good).

    Bad salesmen: They were unable to swindle top talent from other teams the way the Celtics and Lakers did. They wanted to draft Dwyane Wade but couldn't make the trade up to get him and got stuck with Hinrich (still a good draft choice given what was available, look up the guys who went after him). They couldn't get Pau Gasol despite offering more than the Lakers offered. They couldn't convince Lebron, Wade or Bosh that they would rather collude to play in Chicago instead of Miami (oh wait, they already decided). They aren't able to convince Dwight Howard to give Chicago a chance.

    Beyond that, what exactly is the gripe with them? What should they have done differently?

    IF Reinsdorf had been a bigger spender in general, I think the Bulls would have a better reputation around the league, and maybe a trade gets made or Dwight Howard considers Chicago. Maybe. I don't blame GarPax for Lebron/Wade/Bosh but I do blame them for the other things mentioned above. Why did Memphis trade Gasol to the Lakers for less than what the Bulls offered? Unless Stern actually directed the trade (which I wouldn't rule out), it's because GarPax weren't persuasive enough. Either way, superstars are getting traded, GarPax tries to get involved but always fails. Maybe it's not their fault but this is the big leagues, you own the results.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Here are my major gripes with them: they play it safe and do not seem to have the vision necessary to guide a team to a title in the modern NBA. To phrase another way, I get the impression that Paxson is trying to build a team like the title teams he was on (e.g. lucky as hell draft pick, a few moves along the way that work out well, and lots of safe picks).

    A perfect example is when Tyson Chandler (a would-be All-Star center and starter on a title team) was traded for JR Smith (need a scoring 2-guard..don't sweat, Bulls are about to waive one) and PJ Brown's expiring contract. And what, pray tell, did they parlay that sizable ($11 million or thereabouts) expiring contract into??

    N-A-D-A. When a corpse (Kwame Brown) is getting traded for Pau Gasol due to being an expiring contract, you're telling me that you can't take a serviceable player about to expire, and turn that into something?

    Another example of being somewhat clueless is when they were hoping Wade would fall to them, and being caught surprised when Riley outmaneuvered to trade up and take him.

    Also, see Asik, Omer, free agency 2012.

    I could probably go on and on, but the point is, Paxson (and by extension, Gar Foreman) have yet to demonstrate the acumen necessary to put a title worthy team on the floor, nor does there seem to be a plan currently in place that makes sense long-term, either.

    In short, if you're a long-term fan of the Jazz or Hawks, you should recognize this Bulls team. They're headed for years of 2nd round outs under this management, with maybe an ECF appearance thrown in once in a blue moon.

  • Good job on resigning Nate Robinson. That's about the only good news for the Bulls as of late. They actually weren't doing too bad until recently which is why i hope they can snap out of there funk. The biggest problem is we just don't have the weapons and other teams are catching on. All the cap space that was supposed to went in surrounding Rose with other options has been wasted particularly on Boozer. I know at this point no one expects much from that guy, but he is supposed to be the teams second star player to back up Rose so obviously he's a huge disappointment. I don't like always pointing the finger back to Boozer every time the Bulls struggle but that's what he was brought here for and that's the role he agreed to play when he signed his contract and has yet to live up to a single dollar on his contract. No matter how you slice it he is the second biggest problem on the team. However the first biggest problem is management themselves for putting all this trash together.

Leave a comment