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.