Game Notes: Bulls at Bobcats
The Rose-less Bulls put a hurting on the Bobcats.
Fresh off of the NBA All-Star reserves being announced, Bulls forward Luol Deng had a chance to show everyone what he ca do when he’s the man. You see, Derrick Rose is still recovering from a nagging back injury and has played sparingly over the last two games. Facing the lowly Bobcats, Coach Thibodeau decided to hold the reigning MVP out and let his other guys take care of the business. While this was probably a good look on the Bulls side, the 17,000 plus who came out to see adidas’ poster-child seemed less than thrilled.
From the jump, the Bulls had the game in control. The Bobcats just didn’t have anyone who could create a shot, whether it be for themselves or other teammates. Kemba Walker, the guy who can hurt you the most one-on-one had a goose egg at the end of the 1st. On the flip side, the Bulls executed everything to perfection. Luol Deng was amazing reading the defense, curling off of screens and working pin-downs. The Deng-led unit ended the first with a 30-16 lead.
New quarter, similar story. The chemistry and continuity that Chicago brought to the table was simply too much for the Bobcats. There wasn’t one particular guy from the Bulls who particularly stood out or was dominating, but it was their ability to make the extra pass without their leader on the court that enabled them to smash the Bobcats the way they did. Tom Thibodeau had to be thrilled with his teams 49 percent field goal shooting and over 2-to-1 team assist to turnover ratio that was crucial in the Bulls 56-34 halftime lead.
New half, same story. It was almost as if the Bulls took turns getting buckets on the Bobcats. First, Joakim Noah began getting some touches in the pivot and while his game certainly isn’t the prettiest, it resulted in 17 and 14. John Lucas III took his turn in the act via putting in work in high ball screens and getting to the cup due to Charlotte’s horrendous defensive rotation. Taj Gibson and Kyle Korver each put 8 on the board, while the biggest pop of the night went to the White Mamba when he checked in and got in the scorebook himself. The Bobcats were in danger of accomplishing a feat that I personally had never seen: Not having a player score in double figures. While the historian in me was hoping to see something I’d never witnessed personally in an NBA game, Derrick Brown got some buckets in garbage time to hit 10 points as the Bobcats lost their 13th straight game.
With the game in the books and another win for the Bulls and loss for the Bobcats, here are a pair of crucial things that really stood out to me from tonight’s Bulls/Bobcats game:
The Bulls execute like a college team. If you ever have a chance to watch the Bulls play without Derrick Rose, it’s worth taking a look for any basketball lover. Yeah, they’re not going to be the most exciting team and probably won’t have anyone land on SportsCenter‘s top 10. However, these guys will hang on to the ball deep into the shot clock until they’re able to get a good look at the cup. You aren’t going to see any ball-stoppers out there who dribble 10 times before putting up a shot. Deng was doing the majority of his work freeing himself up without the rock in his hands, while Carlos Boozer did the majority of his damage after making quick reads on the blocks. Joakim Noah, John Lucas III, and Kyle Korver all picked their spots to get their shots up within the flow of the offense. In terms of sheer execution of plays, there wasn’t more that you could ask for out of the Rose-less Bulls.
The Bobcats are in trouble. With Derrick Brown being the lone Bobcat to crack double figures scoring and not doing so until there was less than 2 minutes remaining in the game, you have an idea of the scoring woes encountered in Charlotte. The team simply doesn’t have anyone who is that guy who can break down the defense late in the shot clock and get an open look for himself or teammates. Byron Mullens, who started the season averaging 14 and 10, has been relegated to the bench in favor of the defensive minded Bismack Biyombo. Speaking of Biyombo, he and former lottery pick DeSagana Diop each threw up airballs on free throws. Needless to say, I don’t think there’s much debate as to the worst team in the league is. On the bright side, this is a stacked drafted the MJ will likely be able to walk away with a key building block as long as he lands somewhere within the first 8 picks.