May 16, 2013
The Bulls went into their do-or-die Game 5 in the Miami both with and without the usual cast of characters.
Derrick Rose missed the game and by extension missed the entire season, leading at least one writer to describe his much hyped “Return” packaged by Adidas as a hoax. On top of that melodrama, Kirk Hinrich (calf) and Luol Deng (illness) never recovered enough to play a single second round game, which had to be extremely frustrating for the both of them.
Meanwhile, four starters — Carlos Boozer, Jimmy Butler, Joakim Noah and Nate Robinson — logged 40+ minutes, with Robinson sitting for less than a minute and a half and Butler again going the full 48.
The only surprise of the night was the unexpected resurrection of Rip Hamilton. Not only did Hamilton log 35 minutes off the bench in place of an increasingly ineffective Marco Belinelli, he scored 15 points on 12 shots and compiled a game-high plus-minus score of +12.
The Bulls were coming off the worst offensive performance in their playoff history, so virtually anything would have been an improvement, but they were actually pretty effective on offense. thanks largely to strong games from Boozer (26 points, 10-for-19, 14 rebounds), Robinson (21 points, 4-for-7 on threes, 6 assists) and Butler (19 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals), the Bulls scored at a rate of 108.7 points per 100 possessions (per Basketball-Reference).
And, believe it or not, the Bulls were in good position to win this game.
Despite a disastrous first seven minutes that saw them fall behind 22-4, the Bulls did what these Bulls have done for the entirety of the Tom Thibodeau era.
They refused to panic.
By the end of the first quarter, Chicago trailed by only nine points. After outscoring Miami 32-17 in the second quarter, the Bulls took a six-point lead into halftime. That lead expanded to 11 points (75-64) with just under two minutes left in the third quarter. And it seemed like the miraculous was about to happen.
Then Miami cranked up their intensity.
On offense, the Heat went to their old standbys. Shane Battier knocked down two threes thanks to a couple drive-and-kick moves by LeBron James. Norris Cole had a brief hot streak, hitting from 17 feet and then serving up a facial at the rim. Dwyane Wade — who had to retreat to Miami’s locker room between the third and fourth quarters to have his knee re-taped — emerged from his funk to hit two of his patented running one-handers and later had a putback dunk of a missed Cole jumper. And between all those plays, LeBron was directing traffic, driving the ball and drawing fouls.
In all, the Bulls were outscored 24-15 in the fourth quarter but still managed to be down only three points and have possession of the ball with 26.4 seconds left. Unfortunately, Thibodeau had already used all his timeouts, and the Bulls were forced to freelance on that final possession.
It was not a smooth possession by any stretch of the imagination. The Bulls players were running around helter skelter in a frantic attempt to get any kind of clean or dirty look at the rim. Robinson squeezed off a three-pointer that missed badly, but Boozer corralled the offensive rebound. The ball ended up in Butler’s hands. After freeing himself up with a few ball fakes, Butler jacked a triple of his own, which also missed badly. Robinson somehow ended up with the rebound, but there wasn’t enough time left to get any kind of shot.
Said Noah: “We kept fighting. And kept fighting.”
Added Boozer: “We grinded it out. We had chances. We just fell a little bit short.”
Just a little bit short in this game. And a lot short in this series.
And yet, despite the loss, Chicago’s performance in this final game far exceeded expectations. Which is something the Bulls had been doing all season.
Said Thibodeau: ”Obviously we’re disappointed in losing the series. But I was never disappointed in our team. I thought our team fought hard all year long. There was no quit in them.”
Added Boozer: “We’ve got warriors here. If we’re healthy next season, we’re going to be pretty good.”
Of course. But good enough to defeat the Miami Heat?
ESPNChicago’s Nick Friedell doesn’t think so. Not as presently constructed. Of course, the Bulls won’t return next season as presently constructed.
For starters, barring an unforeseen calamity or setback, Rose should return in 2013-14.
Furthermore, Hamilton probably won’t be back — the third year of his contract isn’t guaranteed and I just can’t see the Bulls paying Rip $5 million next season — leaving the former Piston to wistfully consider what might have been.
There’s also a good chance Robinson won’t be back. Although he’d like to be.
Said Robinson: ”I would love to [come back]. Honestly, I really would. But knowing the guys that we have here, I know it’s probably limited space for me, but we’ll see how it goes. [I'll] talk to my agent and stuff like that and figure out what’s the best plan for me. God has blessed me this far [to] continue to play the game that I love. I love this team, I love these guys, and if I could stay here it would be wonderful.”
Although Robinson had a strong season and was often the team’s best offensive player, there are several reasons the Bulls might not bring him back. For starters, there could be a logjam in a backcourt that includes Rose, Hinrich, Butler (at times), Belinelli (if he is re-signed) and Marquis Teague.
Will the Bulls — a notoriously fiscally responsible team (read that: cheap) — want to pay him? Especially if they end up bringing Belinelli back?
And will Belinelli be back? Management likes his skill set, but Marco shot a career-low 35.7 percent from three-point range, and his Effective Field Goal Percentage also dipped to a career-worst mark.
Then too, the Bulls desperately need more three-point shooters. They ranked 21st in three-point percentage and 29th in attempts this season. That won’t cut it in today’s NBA. And anyway, Rose will need shooters to space the floor for his drives, assuming he returns to anything like his old form.
There are big questions and big if’s heading into this offseason. And, for better or worse, most of the improvement will have to come from within. The Bulls don’t have the financial flexibility to sign any high-caliber players, and they still wouldn’t be able to do so even if they used the amnesty provision to offload Boozer’s contract, so you can probably expect Carlos to return for at least one more season. My guess is that the Bulls will amnesty Boozer in the summer of 2014 when Deng and Hinrich’s contracts come off the books.
So while the roster will likely be shifted around and tweaked where possible, management will probably field mostly the same team with an eager eye toward the following offseason. Meaning the Bulls and their fans will have to rely on improved health, internal development and maybe one or two key role players who might be able to contribute.
To what result? Nobody knows.
Said Noah: ”It’s hard right now because we just lost. And it’s always hard to sit here knowing that your season’s over but there are a lot of positives. We’re a young team that has experienced a lot at a young age. When you see what a guy like Jimmy Butler brought to the table. … We’re going to come back healthy, we’re going to be able to compete with these guys for a long time and I think that one day we’ll get our shot.”
Only time will tell.
Recap, Box Score, Advanced Box Score, Play-by-Play, Shot Chart.
May 15, 2013
Rather than the normal rapid reaction, this one will just be a few quick thoughts.
First, a lot of credit to this Bulls team. They were shorthanded the entire season, but never used that as an excuse. They had their nights that they faltered and fell flat, but it’s games like tonight that show you how much fight and effort this team put in every time they went out on the court. When I look back in a few years, that’s what I will remember. That and Game 4 against the Nets.
The effort was always there from the players on this team. From the new guys like Nate Robinson (who when he was signed I thought he was just an overconfident shooter, but actually bought into Tom Thibodeau’s system pretty well—and provided much needed scoring), to Jimmy Butler (taking a huge step forward into a starting role, developing a reliable three-point shot and shutting down perimeter players), to Joakim Noah (who has been giving the effort his entire career but emerged as Chicago’s MVP this season, often facilitating the offense and leading the defense). Even guys who were planted on the bench for long stretches of the season like Marco Belinelli and Nazr Mohammed stepped up into huge roles at times, including the playoffs.
This Bulls team wasn’t always the most exciting team, but they had their moments, and all you can ask of a team is that they fight until the very end. Chicago did that.
A long, injury-riddled season with tons of off-the-court news has finally ended for the Bulls. Here’s to a better 2013-2014.
Feel free to leave your thoughts on the season below in the comments
May 8, 2013
MVP (Most Valuable Player): LeBron James pretty efficiently sliced the Bulls defense, scoring 19 points on 7-12 from the field, and also posted five rebounds and nine assists. He did this all in 32 minutes. Unlike in Game 1 where LeBron was content to facilitate early, the MVP was attacking from the start Wednesday night. James was 6-6 for 12 points in the first quarter, with two assists and two steals.
LVP (Least Valuable Player): Pick your favorite (or least favorite) Chicago player. Carlos Boozer was 3-9 and refused to drive to the basket even though his jumper was off and he had Shane Battier guarding him for stretches. Non-savior Nate Robinson showed up, as he went 3-10 and turned the ball over four times. Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson both lost their cool and got tossed in the fourth, long after the game was lost. Marco Belinelli shot 4-13 as no Bull scored more than 13 points.
X factor: The Bulls pride themselves on defending the paint and the three-point line. Tonight they did neither.Miami scored 56 points in the paint, compared to just 18 for the Bulls. As a matter of fact, the Heat had 16 points in the paint in the third quarter, nearly topping Chicago’s effort for the game in 12 minutes. And after missing lots of open shots in Game 1, Miami shook off the rust. They hit 9-18 from deep, led by Norris Cole (4-4).
That was … terrible: It was the Heat’s largest margin of victory in a playoff game, as well as the Bulls’ largest margin of defeat. Chicago shot 35.5 percent, while Miami hit at a 60.0 percent clip. Miami had 29 assists, the Bulls had 17.Every stat was in favor of the Heat except “number of players tossed.” With all that said, this only counts as one loss and the series is even going back to Chicago. The Bulls have a lot of adjustments to make, but that’s what Tom Thibodeau does.
May 4, 2013
MVP: Nobody new takes this spot—it’s Joakim Noah. His energy doesn’t show up on the box score, but his 24 points, 14 rebounds (seven offensive) and six blocks do. Noah became the second player, joining Elvin Hayes, to rack up that stat line. He looks healthier than he has looked in months, and he was all over the court as usual. As a Bulls fan you have to love this guy.
LVP: Joe Johnson is making $19.7 million this season. In a Game 7, he went 2-14 from the field, including 1-9 from three and tallied six points. Marquis Teague nearly matched his output.
X-factor: The Nets grabbed 19 offensive rebounds, which is not good at all for the Bulls. But Brooklyn converted those boards into just 16 second chance points. The Bulls scored 20 second chance points on 13 offensive rebounds. When Chicago got the opportunity they took it, while the Nets failed to take advantage. That could be said for much of this series.
Defining moment: Withfive minutes left in the game,Joakim Noah grabbed an offensive rebound off of a miss from Nate Robinson. Noah then dished it to Robinson who found Marco Belinelli for a triple to put the Bulls up ten. Belinelli did a little dance and the Nets would never get closer than six the rest of the way.
That was… “Bulls-like”: The Bulls had no right to be in this series. They had injuries piling up and there was more talk about one guy not playing than the 12 guys that were. They could have quit. But Tom Thibodeau wouldn’t allow that. Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, Nate Robinson and the others wouldn’t allow that. This team isn’t the best offense, or the most exciting, but they couldn’t care about that. They go out and fight every night and that’s something that should be respected. Noah said it best after the game:“I’m just so proud of this team.”
The Bulls play Miami in the second round starting Monday night.
April 29, 2013
Following a riveting three overtime victory in the United Center, the Bulls have a chance to close out their first round series with the Nets at Barclays Center.
That long game took its toll on the Bulls though. Kirk Hinrich will miss Game 5 with a bruised calf. Hinrich played 60 minutes in the triple overtime thriller, tallying 18 points and 14 assists. Hinrich was in a walking boot at shootaround today, clouding his status for the rest of the week.
With Hinrich out, it’ll be interesting how Tom Thibodeau changes the rotations. Nate Robinson will likely get the start, but he won’t be stopping Deron Williams much. Maybe the Bulls will go with Marco Belinelli at the point, and have Jimmy Butler guard Williams on defense. Who knows, but losing Kirk, especially on the defensive end, is going to really hurt the Bulls.
Hinrich wasn’t the only guy that the long game took a toll on. Joakim Noah’s 25 to 30 minute limit went out the window pretty much in regulation. Noah played just over 28 minutes in regulation, and then played the entire first and second overtimes before fouling out early in the third OT. He recorded just less than 39 minutes, well over the limit mark, but Thibs felt he needed the win and it wasn’t going to come without Noah.
But Noah wasn’t the most important part of this comeback—that distinction goes to the enigma that is Nate Robinson.
When Robinson got clocked by a Gerald Wallace screen, I joked that “you can’t kill Nate, you can only make him angry, which makes him shoot more.” I had no idea the offensive onslaught that was about to come from the little point guard that could. He dropped 23 points in the fourth quarter, on 9-11 from the field and dished two important assists when the Nets were overplaying him. He hit a few ridiculous shots, led by the go-ahead launch that he hit with 1.7 remaining in the first overtime.
Robinson took a game that the Bulls were out of—14 down with less than four minutes to go—and made it one of the most exciting playoff games of the past few years. But his, and the rest of the Bulls’, work is not finished. They have to win one more contest before they can switch their attention to the defending champs.
And that task just got harder with the news that Hinrich is out. Williams was shooting 35.4 percent in Brooklyn’s three losses this series. That’ll be where the Bulls miss Hinrich. Not to say Kirk wasn’t helping on the offensive end, but his defense on Williams was key in three single digit wins. It’s always been a team defense, slowing down Deron, but now that will be the case more than ever.
Marquis Teague might get his first real playoff minutes, after recording seven seconds earlier in the series. Teague scored eight points and had one turnover in 20 minutes against the Nets on December 15. Marco Belinelli, who played just four minutes in Game 4, will also get more run.
It’ll be an uphill battle winning in Brooklyn without two of their starting point guards. But if the Bulls have showed anything all season, including the last four minutes of regulation in Game 4, it’s that you should never count them out.
April 17, 2013
The Bulls will open the playoffs on Saturday against the Nets. Chicago is 3-1 this season against Brooklyn, including 1-1 at the Barclays Center.
MVP (Most Valuable Player): This one goes to Nazr Mohammed, because why not? He scored a season-high 17 points (7-12 FG), grabbed seven rebounds and threw down a solid dunk. He recorded a game-best +/-, which gave him the edge over Carlos Boozer (19 points, 15 rebounds) and Kirk Hinrich (18 points). Alright fine. I just really wanted to give it to Nazr.
LVP (Least Valuable Player): It’s hard to say Joakim Noah, because he’s playing through injuries…and luckily I won’t have to, because Marco Belinelli went 2-8 from the field and scored a forgettable four points. Belinelli has scored in single digits in seven of his last eight games. That is not good news heading into the playoffs.
Defining Moment: When the Hawks lost to the Knicks. Atlanta’s loss to New York meant that whatever the result in the Bulls game was, it wouldn’t matter one bit, as the Hawks’ loss had given the Bulls the fifth seed. Well tanked, Atlanta. Good luck with Indiana.
X factor: It has to be the Bulls’ awesome first quarter. They took a 31-15 lead after one, as they held the Wizards to 25.0 percent from the field. The rest of the game was downhill, but Chicago rode that big first frame and did just enough to get the win.
That Was …fitting: In a season filled with close games—and losses to—lottery teams, the Bulls almost blew a big first quarter lead to the Wizards. Chicago pulled out a four-point win, but this is how it has been all season: the Bulls struggling with everyone from the best teams in the league to the worst.
Let the postseason begin!
April 14, 2013
MVP (Most Valuable Player): No surprise here. It was LeBron James. He scored 24 points on 7-12 from the field, hit 9-12 free throws and added six assists and seven rebounds. Chris Andersen also played well, scoring a season-high 15 points and grabbing seven boards.
LVP (Least Valuable Player): Marco Belinelli managed to score just seven points on 2-9 from the field. He recorded a minus-22 rating in 30 minutes of action.
Defining Moment: In the fourth quarter, Carlos Boozer stole the ball from Chris Bosh to get a breakaway layup. On his way to the basket he looked over and saw LeBron James lurking. Instead of going up hard and using his body to shield his shot, Boozer went up soft and missed the layup.
And to add to that, every ABC replay seemed like a “how not to play defense” video starring Carlos Boozer.
X factor: Miami got to the line 41 times, and although they only hit 27 of those freebies (65.9 percent), it was still enough to outdo Chicago from the charity stripe (24-31). The Bulls also didn’t have a two-point field goal in the second half until 7:53 left in the fourth quarter.
That Was … another entertaining game: Once again the Bulls-Heat game was fun to watch. The big three played, and the Bulls kept it relatively close for most of the game. I don’t think a playoff series between these squads would go longer than five games, but it sure would be a heated battle.
The Bulls fall a full game back of Atlanta for the fifth spot with this loss to Miami.
April 9, 2013
Time isn’t the friend of this M.A.S.H unit known as the Chicago Bulls.
There are six games left in the regular season and there are more unhealthy bodies than healthy ones.
Derrick Rose (left knee rehab) is still in the “out indefinitely” category. Rose says he’s still open to playing this season, but a return at this point feels very unlikely.
Rip Hamilton (back spasms) reportedly practiced yesterday with no setbacks, but Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said last week that Hamilton is “not real close” to returning.
Taj Gibson (sprained left knee) also practiced without any issues yesterday, but he remains out indefinitely. That Gibson didn’t tear his MCL may have been the best news the Bulls have had this season — it’s been that kind of year — but there’s been no indication when he’ll start playing again. I’ve heard everything from “not until the playoffs” to “could be this week.”
Thibs says that Luol Deng’s sore hip is “better,” although Deng will probably sit out tonight’s game against the Raptors. The Bulls seem intent on giving Deng — who leads the NBA in minutes per game (39.2) — some rest and relaxation before the playoffs.
Said Deng: ”I feel like I need it, especially because I think we learned a lot from last year. Fatigue toward the end of the year makes it easy to pick up injuries. We don’t want that with everyone coming back. We just want to be as healthy as we can.”
Marco Belinelli (abdominal strain) said he woke up with pain after playing in Detroit on Sunday and has acknowledged that he will simply have to play in pain until the offseason.
Then there’s Joakim Noah.
The plantar faciitis in Noah’s right foot hasn’t gotten any better, and it probably won’t until he has extended time off. In other words, after the Bulls’ season has ended. Even worse, Thibodeau says that Noah suffered “a little bit of a setback” when he played against the Pistons on Sunday.
Said Thibs: ”It’s a tough one. You never really know with that type of injury.”
And it’s not for a lack of trying to heal on Noah’s part. He’s done about everything short of consulting a witch doctor, and that includes getting an injection of platelet-rich plasma. Said Noah: ”I’m doing everything: Massage, sleep in a splint, ice … If you got any remedies you want to give me I’ll probably do it.”
Maybe Noah should ask Bill Walton about that special rock in the Philippines that breaks curses.
All the Bulls can do right now is rest the guys who are hurt and play the ones who can still walk straight and breath relatively normally.
Said Thibs: ”We don’t want anyone to play who is injured. At this time of the year, there are a lot of guys that are hurting that will play, but if a guy is injured we don’t want him out there. … Whoever we have, that’s who we’re going with. We have more than enough to win.”
I think we all saw that last part coming.
December 11, 2012
Los Angeles Clippers Status Check:
Road Record: 4-3
Last 10 Games: 6-4
Streak: Won 6
Last game: 102-78 win over Toronto
PPG: 102.3 (6th)
Opponents PPG: 94.5 (7th)
Offensive Rating: 110.5 (4th)
Defensive Rating: 102.1 (7th)
Pace: 92.1 (15th)
Effective Field Goal Percentage: .523 (4th)
Turnover Percentage: .140 (14th)
Defensive Rebound Percentage: .714 (26th)
Offensive Rebound Percentage: .282 (11th)
Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt: .222 (12th)
Opp. eFG%: .483 (11th)
Opp. TO%: .167 (1st)
Opp. FT/FGA: .714 (26th)
Leading scorer: Blake Griffin (18.0)
Stats from Basketball-Reference
Clippers Injury Report:
Chauncey Billups: out (foot tendinitis)
Grant Hill: out (bone bruise in knee)
Trey Thompkins: out (bone bruise in knee)
Coming off their best win of the season over the Knicks, the Bulls task doesn’t get any easier as the Clippers visit the United Center.
Chicago topped New York, who was without Carmelo Anthony, in their fourth game in five nights behind 22 points from each Marco Belinelli and Luol Deng. Since Belinelli was put in the starting line-up, he is averaging 16.8 points per game and is dropping 20.3 points over the last three contests in 41.7 minutes. His shooting has also improved as he’s shooting 47.9 percent as a starter, up from 41.7 on the year.
Belinelli went 1-6 for three points in 17 minutes the last time the Bulls and Clippers met. Not to be outdone, Joakim Noah and Kirk Hinrich both went ohfer. Noah shot 0-6 from the field and recorded seven rebounds and four assists. Hinrich went 0-5, but dished ten assists and coughed it over five times. Hamilton went 6-11 for 14 points, the second best on the Bulls’ team, behind Boozer’s 22 points (10-19).
And, like any good person who cares about his community, when Boozer takes something, he gives back. Blake Griffin posted a double-double (26 points, ten rebounds) while hitting 11-18 shots. Jamal Crawford was hot off the bench, as he’s been all year, dropping 22 points.
The Bulls shot a vomit-inducing 33.7 percent while the Clippers scored at 49.3 percent. Those differences were due in part because Los Angeles scored 26 fast break points, to the Bulls’ ten, and 48 in the paint.
Tom Thibodeau is going to expect a better defensive effort than that, especially since the Bulls have had a few days off since their four games in five nights stretch.
All things considered, the Bulls are happy with their current three game winning streak, but that’s just half what the Clippers have. Los Angeles is in the midst of their second six-game winning streak of the season, while Chicago has put together its most wins all year. The Clips are outscoring opponents by an average of 16.8 points per game during their current streak.
But the Bulls have found that defense that won them games last year, as they have held five of their last six opponents under 90 points, including their last game in which they held a Melo-less Knicks team to 32.1 percent shooting. Chicago is allowing 88.3 points per game in the United Center this season, even though they are just 6-5 at home.
Belinelli has been playing well, but the Bulls will need a lot from him if they want to protect their home court against the Pacific-leading Clippers. “(Saturday) we played offense and defense, rebound, ran,” Belinelli said. “That’s the way we have to play.”
December 7, 2012
Detroit Pistons Status Check:
Home Record: 5-4
Last 10 Games: 5-5
Streak: Lost 1
Last game: 104-97 loss to Golden State
PPG: 93.2 (25th)
Opponents PPG: 96.2 (13th)
Offensive Rating: 101.8 (26th)
Defensive Rating: 105.1 (17th)
Pace: 91.6 (18th)
Effective Field Goal Percentage: .476 (18th)
Turnover Percentage: .149 (27th)
Defensive Rebound Percentage: .713 (25th)
Offensive Rebound Percentage: .273 (13th)
Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt: .218 (12th)
Opp. eFG%: .472 (6th)
Opp. TO%: .129 (25th)
Opp. FT/FGA: .225 (22nd)
Leading scorer: Greg Monroe (15.4)
Stats from Basketball-Reference
Pistons Injury Report:
Austin Daye: questionable (stomach virus)
Chicago is trying to win back-to-back games for just the third time this season, and they aren’t going to have a better chance for a while than against the Pistons.
Detroit’s record doesn’t look like much, at just 6-14, but they are 5-5 in their last ten games, and they are solid at home, going 5-4 in the Palace thus far (they are awful on the road, with a 1-10 record). Detroit strung those five home wins all in a row, and it was snapped in their last game, against Golden State.
The Pistons outrebounded the Warriors 44-35 overall and 15-9 on the offensive glass but it wasn’t enough as Klay Thompson scored 27 points and went 5-8 from deep. Golden State had 17 fastbreak points to the Pistons’ six and turned 17 Detroit turnovers into 16 points.
Tayshaun Prince dropped 24 points and dished five assists but none of the other starters hit double figures in scoring. Brandon Knight, Kyle Singler and Jason Maxiel combined to go 3-19 from the field for eleven points. That’s three-fifths of their starting lineup producing terribly on offense. Don’t expect that again, as Maxiel is shooting better than 50 percent this season and Singler is no slouch at 49 percent.
The bench did step up for the Pistons, led by Andre Drummond’s double-double (15 points, 12 rebounds). All four bench players that got minutes scored in double figures.
A bench that stepped up when the starters were struggling. I can’t imagine a team that could do that a lot, say for two years maybe. Oh wait. There was that one team that had a bench carry them for long stretches, but that’s ancient history now.
The Bulls swept the Pistons last year, holding Detroit to an average of 79.0 points per contest. Chicago’s defensive ratings in the four games were 92.1, 83.1, 91.5 and 94.0. That is amazing defense—paired with some horrible offense—that the Bulls played against the Pistons last season. In the closest game, a 100-94 Bulls overtime win, Kyle Korver recorded an offensive rating of 163 and a defensive rating of 97.
The “new, but not improved Korver” had his best game as a Bull against the Cavs. Marco Belinelli scored a game-high 23 points starting in place of Rip Hamilton. He was just 2-8 from deep but hit 5-7 two-point shots and made 7-8 from the free throw line.
It must have been “Stop Sucking” night in Chicago because Kirk Hinrich had a pretty solid game. Kirk scored eleven points and dished eight assists. It was just the fourth time all season he scored in double figures and the third time he shot better than 50 percent from the field. He’s shooting 33.8 percent from the field this season.
There wasn’t much stepping up by the bench in this one, as the reserves combined to score just 16 points. Noah played 44 minutes, Deng played 42 and Belinelli played 40. Welcome to the starting line-up, Marco.
Minutes are always an issue under Thobideau but it is even more so tonight, as the Bulls play the Knicks tomorrow night which will finish a stretch of four games in five nights. And this stretch of games coming up is going to be tough for the short-handed Bulls.
Stat of the night: The Bulls have won 15 straight against the Pistons, a streak dating back to 2008, and have beaten Detroit eight consecutive times in the Palace at Auburn Hills.
Stat early in the month: The Bulls are holding opponents to 40.9 effective field goal percentage through three games in December.