24 Dec 10 The Chicago Bulls 5th Pre-Season Game: An Analysis

Gregory Shamus/Getty ImagesThe Chicago Bulls lost for the third time in five preseason games 109-105 in their rematch with the Dallas Mavericks in overtime. Many factors worked against the Bulls including not having either of their natural power forwards in the game (both Carlos Boozer and Taj Seattle Seahawks jersey
Gibson did not play due to injuries). However, the contest marked bit of a regression for the Bulls. It also exposed some of the Bulls persistent issues that are magnified by their hole at the power forward position.The Bulls were surprised early in the game by the Maverick’s zone defense. It created a lot of shooting difficulty for Chicago who persistently tried to drill the ball in the paint, a part of the game they have experimented with having Joakim Noah playing power forward. Adjustment to the zone defense came quickly but disappeared just as quick in the second half. In addition, the Bulls were still vulnerable to cutting Mavericks players who ran behind the Bulls defense on hard cuts to the rim. Throughout the game, Dallas often beat Bulls defenders while driving the corners. The Bulls were initially able to build a sizable lead, primarily because the Mavericks underestimated the Bulls perimeter shooting. But late in the first half the Maverick’s closed the gap with Bulls bench on the floor. Again, Chicago’s attempts at feeding the ball in the paint became somewhat predictable and led to many careless passes to anticipating Maverick players. For a large part of the second half, the Bulls did not push the ball up the court which had worked well for them early and after starting with good ball movement; it slowed in the middle of the game. The Bulls also could not capitalize on Dallas mistakes including multiple illegal defenses. Chicago seemed to be standing around more in the second quarter looking for plays to come to them instead of making it happened, a result of not using their driving ability to attack the basket. Their offensive sets looked much more tentative after the first quarter. It seemed as though once the Dallas zone St. Louis Rams jersey
defense shut down the Bulls ability to feed it inside, they could have used Derrick Rose and James Johnson or even Ronnie Brewer to break down the Mavericks by slashing to the basket. That may have limited errant passes and perhaps put Bulls players on the foul line more often. Dirk Nowitzki was able to capitalize on the Bulls weakness at the power forward position and got plenty of assistance from the referees, one of which led to yet another dubious technical on the Bulls in the past two games this time on Coach Tom Thibodeau. After the Bulls struggled to score, Thibodeau made an interesting move putting Brewer, Rose, and Keith Bogans on the floor which seemed to suggest deference to defense in an effort to stop the Mavericks scoring. The Bulls did finish very strong and their defense had more energy later in the game.Chicago did a tremendous job in hitting perimeter three point shots especially in the first half. That was supposedly a weakness for the team going into the season. If they can consistently hit from the outside as they demonstrated against the Mavericks, they should be considered one of the elite three point shooting teams in the league. The three point threat has been shown significantly by Keith Bogans, Kyle Korver, and Luol Deng; with C.J. Watson and James Johnson providing a better than decent effectiveness from beyond the arch; and Derrick Rose now being more consistent and confident with his shot. During the beginning and the end of the game, the Bulls showed good momentum. Their speed off the ball was effective. On defense the Bulls showed good hands pursuing the ball and making a number of steals. They were also effective driving to the rim the few opportunities they took which may have tilted the game in their favor if they utilized their slashers more often.Individually the Bulls had mixed results. Derrick Rose shined hitting a three point shot to send the game into overtime. He had his almost now customary dramatic fast breaks especially a lightning quick burst in the first quarter for a layup. Luol Deng was equally as effective both from the three point line and the moderate number of times he drove the ball. He was 5-for-7 from behind the arc. Deng had a monster outing hitting beyond the arch. Both Rose and Deng scored 23 pointsOmer Asik is becoming a more potent weapon for the Bulls in the paint and showed particular strength off of a feed for a successful layup. In addition, another area that was Tennessee Titans jersey
considered a weakness for the Bulls, Asiks free throws, is looking less like a liability. Asik had a nice block in the first quarter which was unfortunately stolen back and ended in a three point play, however it demonstrated that Asik is pretty good at picking off passes and lobs. He finished with 7 points, 6 rebounds and 4 steals in 21 minutes of action. James Johnson provided contributions to the Bulls in a number of ways in limited minutes including a great toss to Rose who elevated and slammed the ball. In addition, Johnson took a timely charge towards the end of the game. His effectiveness when pushing the ball to the basket during overtime suggests that he should have been driving more often and drawing fouls. Johnson finished with 8 points and 6 rebounds. Noah again had a strong game and showed nice footwork. For the second straight contest he played heavy minutes (35). Bogans continued to be a three point mercenary with two connects in the game but that was on 6 attempts. Brewer’s athleticism was good and he also should have been allowed to try to get to the basket more often. His defense was also strong with him picking off a pass ball for a steal just as he entered the game. Kyle Korver had an off night missing several shots including a free throw on a technical foul. C.J Watson also had a terrible shooting night going 2-for-13. Brian Scalabrini seemed to be having problems handling the ball.Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesWhile the Bulls can point to numerous reasons why they lost the game one of the more frustrating must be the terrible officiating by the referees. There were a considerable amount of fouls called or not called which affected the outcome more than it should have. That included a no-call on Jason Kidd for obviously fouling Derrick Rose on a break; another obvious no-call late in the second quarter again involving Rose; what should have been a flagrant on Dirk Nowitzki on a breaking C.J. Watson, and a no foul call on Dallas Maverick Ian Mahinmi off of a blatant push off. Unfortunately the game of basketball is a competition where excuses don’t matter and bad calls must be endured. For the Bulls, this latest outing should be a wakeup call to remind them what it takes to Washington Redskins jersey
close out games. The Dallas Mavericks are arguably one of three best teams in the Western conference and the Bulls appeared to be competitive in a game that clearly both teams were somewhat focused on winning. But the Bulls were exposed for some of their enduring weak spots and must make adjustments in order to compete at the highest levels and reach the potential that they continue to show. For the game, I would grade the Bulls defense an B, and the offense a B-, coaching an A- and the team overall a B