A short sigh of relief: Bulls 96, Warriors 91

I shared my thoughts about this game over at TrueHoop. However, I wanted to address a few things here as well.

For starters: Yes, I’m relieved the Bulls won and therefore put a halt to one of the most depressing four-game losing streaks in recent memory. As they say, the best prescription for losing is winning. And the Bulls did that.

However: I’m still really worried. Especially with the Boston Celtics coming into town tonight, followed by the Los Angeles Lakers next Tuesday.

Think about it. The Bulls finished four quarters and one overtime sessions with only 96 points against a Warriors squad that currently ranks 26th in Defensive Efficiency (107.9 points allowed per 100 possessions). Mind you, they were ranked 29th before facing the Bulls last night. Meanwhile, the Celtics rank 1st in Defensive Efficiency (96.2 points allowed per 100 possessions) and the Lakers are very close second (96.4).

See where I’m going with this?

I don’t understand how the game was so close. Chicago shot slightly better than Golden State, and the Bulls bucked their usual pattern by dominating the inside, outrebounding the Warriors 58-44 and outscoring them 56-22 in the paint.

I also don’t understand why the team finished with only 11 foul shots. Why isn’t Derrick Rose exploding to the hole? He’s a physical freak. He’s fast. He can jump out of the gym. But he has fallen deeply in love with his running, one-handed floater.

Sure, Rose can get that shot anytime he wants, but is that really the shot he wants almost every time? The Warriors are a terrible defensive team. Why let them off the hook by avoiding contact? As it was, Rose finished with 22 shot attempts (of which he hit seven)  but only two free throws. And he “earned” those only because Golden State’s C.J. Watson was forced to foul him with 11 seconds left in overtime.

It also bugs me that Vinny Del Negro isn’t running more of the offense through Luol Deng. Before you laugh, check out his stats. His numbers from this season match up fairly well from his mythical 2006-07 season. You know, the year everybody thought Deng was playing like an All-Star. Last night, he finished with team-highs in points (21) and assists (6) and was second in blocked shots (2).

But more than that, Deng actually showed off a few post moves. And he made things happen when the ball was in his hands. There was a seven-minute stretch of the third quarter where Deng: assisted on a Joakim Noah dunk, hit a two-pointer, assisted on another Noah dunk, converted a three-point play off a layup/and-1, hit a 19-footer, hit a 22-footer, assisted Rose on a short jumper, and hit a 9-footer.

The only play during that period Deng wasn’t a part of was an 18-footer by Derrick Rose (assist to Kirk Hinrich). And after Deng’s last jumper, the Bulls were ahead 67-58. But then Vinny all of the sudden stopped going to Deng. I have no idea why. He was causing matchup nightmares for the Warriors.

Deng did a lot of his damage from the power forward position. It worked pretty well. I hope we see more of it. The Bulls are already a terrible defensive rebounding team — currently 27th in Defensive Rebounding Rate — so why not go small and try to create matchup problems? Not many PFs could stay in front of Deng, and he’s long enough to shoot over them if they give him any room at all.

Anyway, Celtics tonight.

Recap, Box Score, Play-By-Play, Shot Chart, Photos.

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7 Responses to A short sigh of relief: Bulls 96, Warriors 91

  1. mjlynch2@gmail.com'
    Mike December 12, 2009 at 8:32 pm #

    Great points about Deng. The Bulls continue to run everything through Rose. However, without a shooter and floor spacing, things are too clogged up for him to both create effectively and score effectively. And he hasn’t learned to draw contact, all things that are abundantly clear. So let’s just stop. Why not play Kirk at point and run plays for Derrick off the ball? Why not put Deng alongside Noah in the post, set low screens and give him five back doors per game? I mean, the dude is lightning fast and athletic.

    So why not let him let him run and roam, instead of forcing him to run point? And instead of having him lead the transition offense, why not turn him loose and let Kirk and company throw lobs, etc.? I mean, Derrick is amazing with the ball in his hands, but it’s just too stuffed up for him to be effective. Plus, Vinny doesn’t exactly have a lot to lose if he rolls the dice a little.

  2. felipeagarcia87@hotmail.com'
    felipe garcia December 12, 2009 at 10:10 pm #

    Good win for the Bulls, this is what I am talking about people! this team can still make a playoff run if everyone is on the same page and lets just hope that the Bulls will eventually make a huge trade soon for a PF player like: Lee or Al, when Tyrus Thomas is healthy again. Then they hirer a new coach like Byron Scott to give them better coaching experience.

  3. aha.ins@live.com'
    dj December 12, 2009 at 10:20 pm #

    I do hope this win is a good sign for the Bulls, to start winning more games again. The Boston and Lakers series is going to be a big game for the bulls to see were they are at this season with the roster they have for now. Hopefully we do get a trade soon.

  4. dwudke2@uiuc.edu'
    woody December 13, 2009 at 1:09 am #

    I just don’t see how they don’t see these trends within the organization. Or if they do,… why nothing is done about it?

  5. will@wildyams.com'
    WildYams December 13, 2009 at 1:09 am #

    Matt, where are you getting the stats about teams’ Defensive Efficiency? According to Basketball-Reference.com the Lakers are #1 in Defensive Rating with 99.1 points allowed per 100 possessions while Boston is #2 with 99.4 points allowed per 100 possessions. Also, Golden State is ranked #23 there with 109.6.

    I’m not calling you out or anything, clearly you got your figures from somewhere, I was just curious which site you’re using so I could look at it.

  6. bullsbythehorns@gmail.com'
    Matt McHale December 13, 2009 at 2:19 am #

    Yams — I’m using John Hollinger’s Defensive Efficiency ratings instead of BBR’s Defensive Rating…er…ratings. ‘Cause this is an ESPN-affiliated blog and all that.

    I’m not sure how Hollinger’s calculations differ from BBR’s.


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