Apocalypse in Atlanta: Hawks 118, Bulls 83

The Bulls took another one on the chin in Atlanta.

The Bulls took another one on the chin in Atlanta.

You know the story: the Bulls couldn’t buy a shot (36.4 percent), couldn’t hold onto the ball (19 turnovers), couldn’t defend (50 percent shooting for the Hawks), couldn’t protect the paint (where they were outscored 46-34), couldn’t finish in transition (only 6 fast break points compared to 22 for Atlanta), couldn’t even begin to cool down a hot hand (former Bull Jamal Crawford scored a season-high 29 points on 10-for-16 shooting)…let’s face it, the night was nothing but a series of “couldn’t’s” for the Bulls.

They’ve now dropped five straight games and nine of their last 10 overall. But hey, at least Vinny Del Negro isn’t worried about his job.

I understand this team is lacking in offensive firepower, but where has the defense gone? In their first 10 games, the Bulls surrendered 100 points only once. At that point, they were ranked a very impressive 4th in Defensive Rating. Since then? Check out the points Chicago has given up in the last 10 games: 108, 112, 122, 105, 99, 85, 101, 110, 103, 118. Now they’re ranked 20th in Defensive Rating. And that number doesn’t even reflect their defensive fail against the Hawks.

Is this really the same team that lit the basketball world on fire by pushing the defending champion Boston Celtics to seven games in the first round of the playoffs last spring? I’m this close from putting a team together to go check their basements for body snatcher pods.

Of course, the Bulls really aren’t the same team. Not without Ben Gordon, not without Tyrus Thomas (who’s still recovering from forearm surgery), not without the Kirk Hinrich from last season’s playoffs. Captain Kirk returned last night, but he must have left his jump shot sitting on the counter at home. In 22 minutes off the bench, Hinrich went 0-for-9 from the field and finished with zero points. The sad thing is, that misguided shooting performance will barely affect his average, which was already a lowly 36 percent.

Vinny might be feeling pretty chill — or so he claims — but it’s become pretty obvious that losing has gotten to the players. You can see it in their eyes, in the way their shoulders slump after a missed shot or turnover. Basketball, especially on the professional level, is a game of split seconds. In most cases, players have a split second to get their shot off or make the right pass, a split second to make the defensive move that will prevent an easy bucket.

Well, the Bulls are losing those split seconds to doubt and depression. A big part of winning is believing you can win. I didn’t see a lot of faith in the eyes of the Bulls last night.

That’s not true across the board. Derrick Rose has finally started asserting himself. He sure wasn’t shy about looking for his offense last night. In fact, he attempted a game-high 18 shots. But even with his newfound assertiveness, Rose wasn’t great (19 points, 7 assists), and his efforts didn’t change the trance-like play of his teammates. They’re called “motions,” and the Bulls were going through them… except for maybe rookies Taj Gibson (who scored 11 points on 5-for-8 shooting before fouling out) and James Johnson (who scored all 17 of his points during garbage time in the fourth quarter).

Even Joakim Noah — easily the most intense guy on the team — looked rattled. Sure, he grabbed his usual 11 rebounds, but he went 0-for-4 from the field and looked totally out of sync.

At this point, I’m not sure how this mess can be cleaned up, short of a major personnel overhaul (starting with the obvious coaching change). The players are having a crisis of confidence. There’s no team identity. They can’t score or defend. There’s no telling whether Vinny has a clear vision — or any vision at all – of what he wants from his squad. Sometimes, he talks about the need for more running, at others the need to “gang rebound.” Well, running teams cannot gang rebound, and gang rebounding teams cannot run.

At this point, the Bulls’ team chemistry reminds me of watching a bunch of guys who have never met playing pickup ball at the local gym. Are these guys incompetent…or incompetently coached? I would be able to tell you more if I got to see more actual coaching. “Run, rebound, and try harder” doesn’t qualify as coaching.

The only real option this group has is to play every game like it’s their last. You know, play defense like their careers depend on it, scrap for every loose ball, hustle with everything they have to give. They can’t wait for next summer, can’t expect a superstar to come and save them from themselves. Why would a Chris Bosh or a Dwyane Wade want to leave their own underachieving team for another one? Wade has already stated that winning is his top priority, and whatever small chance he’d want to play in his hometown will be destroyed if the Bulls can’t start at least competing.

Look, the season isn’t lost. The Bulls are six games below .500, but they’ve recovered from worse. Heck, they recovered from worse last season. But they can’t wait. The turnaround needs to start immediately. One game at a time, playing with wild abandon. If the New Jersey Nets can keep fighting after starting the season 0-18, if the Minnesota Timberwolves can keep competing despite their many woes, then so can the Bulls.

I hope.

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

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79 Responses to Apocalypse in Atlanta: Hawks 118, Bulls 83

  1. mrgarcia87@yahoo.com'
    andres Lopez December 13, 2009 at 12:30 am #

    WOW! how did you know that? have you been checking me out at home of what I do? Man u need to spend more time with you sister, I mean wife lol

  2. mrgarcia87@yahoo.com'
    andres Lopez December 13, 2009 at 12:37 am #

    You should start playing some of your Banjo. Maybe that will cheer you up when u c the bulls lose some games and that way you don’t take your anger on us.

  3. gobulls76@hotmail.com'
    mike December 13, 2009 at 12:45 am #

    wow the best part of you dripped down your mothers leg for sure lopazzzor garciaaaa

  4. gobulls76@hotmail.com'
    mike December 13, 2009 at 12:45 am #

    who ever you are

  5. gobulls76@hotmail.com'
    mike December 13, 2009 at 12:46 am #

    you where the load your mother should have swallowed

  6. gobulls76@hotmail.com'
    mike December 13, 2009 at 12:49 am #

    het lopass go play with your wife oh im sorry you dont have one go play with you dog have a nice burrito i mean night lopass

  7. mrgarcia87@yahoo.com'
    andres Lopez December 13, 2009 at 4:09 am #

    what was that brother mike? u did your sister? wat kind of red neck joke was that? huh Puto! WOW! White power KKK lol good night maricon!

  8. felipeagarcia87@hotmail.com'
    felipe garcia December 13, 2009 at 4:14 am #

    (Yah Maricon! mamame el pito PUto!) look it up what i said and I am columbian not mexican pendejo and tell ur wife-sister I will see her to night ;-D

  9. sportytomboy1212@aim.com'
    mike killer December 13, 2009 at 4:16 am #

    Hey hey hey! leave my son Mike alone you guys. We are share his sister lol jk.

  10. sportytomboy1212@aim.com'
    mike killer December 13, 2009 at 4:17 am #

    sharing*

  11. sportytomboy1212@aim.com'
    mike killer December 13, 2009 at 4:19 am #

    meaning my daughter lol

  12. sportytomboy1212@aim.com'
    mike killer December 13, 2009 at 4:29 am #

    REmember Mike Be PRODDED! WooooW!!!

  13. rossana-AHA@hotmail.c?om'
    Max power December 13, 2009 at 1:15 pm #

    Hey u guys should common down, their are also kids reading these comments lol

  14. gobulls76@hotmail.com'
    mike December 13, 2009 at 9:42 pm #

    wow you guys keep talking abaut banging my sister but she died when she was only 18 so she has been dead for only 21 years i hope you like bones fools thats all you wiil be fucking you bunch of spicks

  15. gobulls76@hotmail.com'
    mike December 13, 2009 at 10:51 pm #

    by the way i think its funny when you call me a red neck hey lopasss garcia her is my response to you va leva no filho puta do cu tu es om penleide vai por qerai que de fuda good night fags

  16. mrgarcia87@yahoo.com'
    andres Lopez December 14, 2009 at 12:24 am #

    Nice come back brother! but once again, it does not hurt me b-cuz in order 4 me 2 be a spick, i have to be mexican and I am Puerto RICAN dumb ass. Do you know your countries??? I guess not, u trailer trash. I may not know how to spell well but, I at least know how to read comments unlike u, GETTER DONE capable guy red neck.

  17. felipeagarcia87@hotmail.com'
    felipe garcia December 14, 2009 at 12:27 am #

    Yah Mike, why don’t you just go play your banjo with your wife-sister. And be PRODDED u white trash!

  18. mrgarcia87@yahoo.com'
    andres Lopez December 14, 2009 at 12:33 am #

    And the sentence you wrote us in spanish, does not make any sense Pendejo. Learn how to read and write in spanish, so you can educate yourself for once and learn another language. O don’t forget: White power back to you brother!! WoooooW! lol

  19. rossana-AHA@hotmail.c?om'
    mike killer December 14, 2009 at 12:36 am #

    Damn brother Mike, you want some ice for that sick burn? lol

  20. felipeagarcia87@hotmail.com'
    felipe garcia December 14, 2009 at 12:38 am #

    o0o yah, have good night as well Mike and tell your wife-sister I said HI! lol jk

  21. gobulls76@hotmail.com'
    mike December 14, 2009 at 12:59 am #

    thats because its not spanish you dumb ass who needs to go back columbia since you know so much you tell me what language it is you fag who happens to be both lopass and garcia and mike killer see thats why so manny people where on your side because you are those three fags like i said my sister has been dead for 21 years you fuckin ugly baboon why dont you and yourselves go back to columbia and walk around barefoot and look for animals to have sex with looooooooooossssseeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

  22. gobulls76@hotmail.com'
    mike December 14, 2009 at 1:08 am #

    its funny i live in the chicago area but im a red neck oh thats write i need to learn country you need to learn abaut your new country see read necks are down south like you mamas mouth was a little wile ago see you are still dumber than me wow thats got to heart or not i really dont care but still you should learn about the new country you live in lol

  23. gobulls76@hotmail.com'
    mike December 14, 2009 at 1:10 am #

    or you can do what you do best thats lie steal and look for animals to have sex with lol jk

  24. felipeagarcia87@hotmail.com'
    felipe garcia December 14, 2009 at 5:26 am #

    ok? what is it with you with animal jokes brother mike? do you have a sexual feeling for them? (leave the animals alone, u sick ass red neck hill billy) o0o n by the way brother mike, the only reason y lopez and mike killer are on my side is because they are my Primos (cuzin) Pendejo, ask them. If the animal joke is the best you got, no wonder u never got lay in your hole life beside your own sister-wife of course lol. Man I feel sorry for you, it must be really hard being a red neck and playing your banjo all day.

  25. felipeagarcia87@hotmail.com'
    felipe garcia December 14, 2009 at 5:34 am #

    And don’t start getting mad Mike, just because you have no friend but, yourself. Remember like you hill billy say: BE PRODDED! brother Mike! WoooW! GETTER DONE with you wife-sister.

  26. mrgarcia87@yahoo.com'
    andres Lopez December 14, 2009 at 5:38 am #

    Yah, peace out PUTO! and stop crying just because you have no friends here. Good night Brother! WOOOOOW!!! KKK!

  27. rossana-AHA@hotmail.c?om'
    mike killer December 14, 2009 at 5:43 am #

    YAH! WHITE POWER BROTHER MIKE!

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