Wow… Our first loss of the season. Have Chicago Bulls fans crashed back to earth yet? I have… In my GSW game preview, I HOPED that the team would guard against an emotional letdown after the thriller in L.A…. Where do I start? I think I’ll break this up into sections for easier digestion… Warning, I think I’ve got more questions than answers!
Carlos Boozer continues to struggle. I know we are basically watching “camp” spilling over into the regular season because of the lockout, but tonight’s performance is a real concern. I can live with an off night in terms of point production, but his overall timing, leaping ability, quickness, all of it looks “off.” I mean really off, and I’m frightened. Boozer has a long way to go in terms of development and improvement as the season wears on… I will tell you Bulls fans, if there is not significant improvement here, the Bulls should change their focus from championship to simply a deeper run in the playoffs. The Larry O’Brien trophy is won in the post, on the boards and with tenacious defense… If he looked this way tonight against GSW I shudder to think what is going to happen to us on Friday against Deandre Jordan and Blake Griffin. Noah was Noah tonight… Flashes of brillance in activity and rebounding, but also a bit of butterfingers as he couldn’t hold onto the ball… Only 2 turnovers, but it felt like more. Also, the Bulls are so offensively starved that we need Noah to be able to make that 12 footer more consistently than he does.
Derrick had an off game… He was limited to 4-17 shooting, had 3 turnovers and 0 steals, but he did have 8 dimes… His shot count also increased based on the last few possessions where the Bulls were trying to get back into the game with the 3-ball. I actually thought he STILL showed discipline and maturity in this loss… The old D.Rose would have driven the ball to the basket over and over and over again in a game like this, and would have launched at LEAST 10 more rockets. I think he realizes that he needs to pace himself and also get the team involved in the attack. Rip struggled from the field and like the bigs, didn’t see much action in the 4th quarter. He was still looking to attack, but the offense seemed stagnant and I’m not sure why because apart from the steals, the ball didn’t seem to stop. We need more player movement. C.J. was decent… He also struggled from the field, but hit some shots late. Brewer and Korver were basically non-factors… Hit a few shots, but didn’t make the game changing plays we needed to really shift momentum (not in time anyway).
Where was the “D” the Bulls are so famous for? I knew we were in trouble at the 16-16 mark because we were satisfied with trading baskets with them. We started out strong, shooting 67%, so I guess, again, we thought we could outshoot them. We weren’t going for steals, we weren’t making anything tough for them, we were just trading baskets and allowing these potent, offensive weapons to get into shooting rhythms… I was terrified when Thibs called that timeout at 16-16. I knew we were doomed at that point, not kidding. GSW had 16 steals to our 3. Now, having said that… They obviously had active hands, but I refuse to believe that all of these “strips” were clean. Not sure how much the Bulls can gamble (we need D.Rose on the floor), however it does seem like our “defense”, is being interpreted differently this season by the refs. Its safe to say that beginning in pre-season to date, the Bulls can be referred to as “foul prone.”
What really is the offensive plan for this team? It looks like we need 2-3 shots per possession to get buckets… The bigs are missing at the rim… Our outside shooting is shaky. The scoring droughts have to stop. Will we ever be able to consistently score in bunches?
The way the team is constructed and managed, we will most likely never get badly blown out. Thibs preaches too much about defense and the Bulls play too hard for 48 minutes for that to happen. I mean never say never, but in my opinion there is too much energy and effort being put forth for a blowout loss… HOWEVER, just like last season, we can’t play from behind all the time. I need to pull out a stat to find out how many games the Bulls had to play from behind in. It had to be dozens and dozens… Is that part of our team identity? If D. Rose is committed to making this a more balanced vs. singular attack, I think fans need to get ready for us to lose some games. Think about it, this team is coming off of a season where it had the luxury of Derrick Rose just going insane whenever we got down too badly… This adjustment, coupled with limited practice time and shortened training camp, makes this scenario seem realistic.
- Stephen Curry unfortunately re-injured his surgically repaired ankle on a fast break in the 4th quarter, awkwardly rolling it on Kyle Korver’s foot.
- This marked Mark Jackson’s first win as an NBA coach.
- This loss marks the 9th loss for the Bulls in 10 visits to Oakland
- Mark Jackson, Head Coach of the Golden State Warriors: “He [Stephen Curry] was in attack mode against arguably the best point guard and the MVP of the league. He did a great job of being an extension of me on the floor.”
- Derrick Rose: “…Defense, defense, defense. The biggest thing is how quick we can jell. I think that’s everybody’s concern right now.”
- Joakim Noah: “…They scored a lot of points off our turnovers in transition, bad pick-and-roll defense, bad post defense, lack of communication—everything. Our defense was just bad. It was better at the end.”
What’s In Front of the Bulls Now
Well, things don’t get any easier… We are about to play a Sacramento Kings team that is brimming with confidence after they knocked off the Lakers tonight. With two days off and fresh legs, we should be a crisper team. We will also be catching the Kings on the tail end of a back to back to back so that also helps our chances.