Bulls-Suns preview: A game of contrasts

Okay…let’s talk Bulls-Suns. Note that many of the following stats were provided by Peter Newmann of ESPN Statistics and Information Research.

Fact: After hitting a total of 20 three-pointers during his first four seasons in the NBA, Phoenix Suns backup center Channing Frye has nailed 98 threes this season. That’s the second second-most in the league behind Danilo Gallinari of the New York Knicks (109). Meanwhile, the Bulls have connected on 150 three-pointers as a team.

Fact: Among all players who have accumulated at least 200 offensive plays this season, Jared Dudley ranks as the 11th-best individual offensive player in the NBA (1.08 points per play). Yes, Jared Dudley. Just call it “The Steve Nash Effect.”

Fact: Amar’e Stoudemire is averaging 21.0 PPG, and 11.8 of those points are scored in the paint. That’s the fifth-best in-the-paint average in the league, behind LeBron James (12.1), Andrew Bogut (12.2), Monta Ellis (12.4) and Zach Randolph (12.5). Not surprisingly, Stoudemire appears to be one of the players on Chicago’s offseason wish list.

Fact: Joakim Noah’s jump shot was created by evil forces from an alternate universe. Okay, I can’t actually prove that, but it kind of makes sense, doesn’t it?

Fact: Steve Nash has 26 double-doubles this season. That’s the fifth-most in the league, behind Zach Randolph (27), Carlos Boozer (28), Dwight Howard (30) and Chris Bosh (31). Not surprisingly, Bosh and Boozer both appear to be on the Bulls’ offseason wish list. For what it’s worth, Noah leads the Bulls with 21 double-doubles.

I present these facts both because they’re interesting and they illustrate the primary difference between the Bulls and Suns. One team is all defense and little offense, the other is all offense and little defense. In fact, Phoenix gives up 1.10 points per possession, which is the second-worst mark in the league, barely better than the 1.11 surrendered by the Toronto Raptors. Of course, the Bulls score only 1.00 point per possession, which is the league’s third-worst PPP, ahead of only the Minnesota Timberwolves (0.99) and New Jersey Nets (0.96).

It’s a classic case of a Resistable Force meeting a Movable Object. Kind of like Mega Shark versus Giant Octopus. Or maybe not.

I’d say the outcome of this game was a toss up except that the Bulls are playing in Phoenix on the third game of a seven-game Western Conference road trip. Note that each of Chicago’s last four losses have come on the road, where they are 4-15 this season. The Suns, on the other hand, are at 16-4 at home and 15-3 overall against sub-.500 teams.

If the Bulls are going to have any shot at winning this game, they can’t pull a repeat of what happened against the Warriors. Simply put, they cannot try to outscore the Suns. Phoenix will give up jump shots. If the Bulls are lured into chucking up jumper after jumper, this is a blowout waiting to happen. Chicago needs to, if at all possible, slow the pace, attack the basket, and even try to have Joakim Noah and Luol Deng pound the ball inside. Did I mention they need to stop the Suns in transition, run out at their three-point shooters and try to protect the rim from their relentless drives?

Should be easy…

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16 Responses to Bulls-Suns preview: A game of contrasts

  1. mikemayer3@hotmail.com'
    thirdsaint January 22, 2010 at 2:53 pm #

    Good post. It’s kind of funny how you and the rest of us see how the Bulls should play and then they go out there and do the opposite. Either the Bulls have horrible scouts, horrible coaching, or the players don’t listen. What we should be doing is so clear if you do a little research and scouting.

    I’d be surprised if they win tonight or are even within 10 points. I hate being pessimistic but on the road it’s hard not to be. Especially when your team just dropped 2 games they had no business losing…

  2. rchs24jg@yahoo.com'
    letsgobulls_24 January 22, 2010 at 4:53 pm #

    Matt, I have a feeling you are writing this in hopes that VDN will see it before tonight’s game. I’d be willing to bet that someone within the Bulls organization is paid to go through sites like this one and report back what he/she finds. Who knows.
    I sure hope they can get it together soon. ATTACK ATTACK ATTACK THE BASKET!!

  3. mikemayer3@hotmail.com'
    thirdsaint January 22, 2010 at 6:36 pm #

    letsgobulls: At this point, given what Matt’s dug up the past week, that’d be the best scouting the Bulls have done all season if they searched this blog out and brought it back to VDN. >_<

  4. gamelust@gmail.com'
    sn0wX January 22, 2010 at 6:57 pm #

    reading this article reminds me of a thought i cant get out of my head, that thought is….

    Is it just me, or does Stacy King from the broadcast team seem to have better knowledge of what the Bulls should be doing on the court than their coach?

    When the rookie Stephen Curry has 4 fouls at the start of the 3rd quarter, and in danger of fouling out WHY THE HELL DIDNT WE ATTACK HIM EVERY PLAY TIL HE WAS FOULED OUT? he didnt get another foul the rest of the game and killed us with his 3 pt shots, and we could have had him seated before the 4th quarter even got started.

    This is why VDN does not belong at the helm, the broadcaster has more sense than the coaches.

  5. Ryan January 22, 2010 at 7:41 pm #

    I think this game will be won by the Bulls. They seem to thrive on these statistically losable games (Cavs, Spurs, Celts, and Magic). I hope we can put on a good show for Amare. I think Tyrus could have a huge game if he decides to try and Luol can make some noise. Containing Barbosa and Earl Clark will be a difference maker too. Bulls like to focus on the “star” players and the role players can kill us sometimes.

  6. bullsbythehorns@gmail.com'
    Matt McHale January 22, 2010 at 7:43 pm #

    “Is it just me, or does Stacy King from the broadcast team seem to have better knowledge of what the Bulls should be doing on the court than their coach?”

    It’s not just you. Stacy gets carried away sometimes, but most of the times he immediately pinpoints what the Bulls should be doing in specific instances.

    I just really wish I knew what was being said in the team huddles. I want to know whether Vinny’s giving them the right instructions and they’re not following through, or whether he’s simply telling them the wrong things.

  7. bullsbythehorns@gmail.com'
    Matt McHale January 22, 2010 at 7:47 pm #

    “Containing Barbosa and Earl Clark will be a difference maker too. Bulls like to focus on the ‘star’ players and the role players can kill us sometimes.”

    The funny thing is, the opposite used to be true of the MJ-led Bulls teams. Everybody knew Jordan was going to get his 30 points. But then, say, Bill Wennington would hit a little 15-footer, or Jud Bucheler would drill a three. Chicago’s roleplayers used to come through with big shots or big defensive plays back in the day. A lot of people forget that.

  8. Ryan January 22, 2010 at 7:55 pm #

    How about the staff with Vinny? I know VDN needs to notice things like the fouls and timeouts, but at what point do assistants step up and say, “Hey, Ellis has 4 fouls” or “Hey, we should save a timeout.” I know Bickerstaff, Myers, and even Ociepka understand these things. The timeouts were mismanagement for the coaches as a whole, but foul trouble is something that should not be ignored. This was the third or fourth time this year I have noticed this trend. I think the games with the Bucks and Hawks had similar foul issues too.

  9. Ryan January 22, 2010 at 8:01 pm #

    Thanks for the honorable mention for Wennington and Buechler – Don’t forget the likes of Luc Longley, Ron Harper and Randy Brown.

  10. Burke January 22, 2010 at 8:56 pm #

    I think we can often get carried away with potential mismatches and opponents foul trouble.

    Earlier this week TrueHoop had a post about the danger of trying to attack a perceived mismatch and allowing that to throw the team out of rhythm. Now, it would be easy to say that the Bulls don’t have any rhythm on offense anyway but sometimes you just gotta’ play. And what would you say to go after a player in foul trouble? Attack the basket? That should be the plan for the whole game, anyway.

  11. mikemayer3@hotmail.com'
    thirdsaint January 22, 2010 at 9:01 pm #

    Yeah, King definitely has some good insight at times. He may annoy some people but I enjoy his commentary since he does know what he’s talking about and I like when he messes with Neil Funk. Still, if King is doing this and VDN can’t that tells me we need a new coach. Either that or VDN needs a transmittor in his ear to pick up the broadcast so he can hear what King is saying…

  12. Ryan January 23, 2010 at 4:01 pm #

    Stacey would tell him, “If you’re scared, go buy a dog!” Or the classic, “Mouse in the House… Free cheese!”

    Great win by the Bulls, and a hyped-up dunk for Rose. Hopefully this can solidify some coach votes for the Allstar Game.

  13. bulls fan in alaska January 23, 2010 at 9:19 pm #

    Hey whats up James Johnson?

  14. mrgar87@live.com'
    andres Lopez January 25, 2010 at 12:44 am #

    Reporter K.C. Johnson from the Chicago Tribune said yesterday that the Bulls are still looking for a trade before the deadline but, this time they are searching for a solid SG only. When I heard that news yesterday I was so piss off because that means that the Bulls would have to give up Kirk Hinrich or John Salmons or both of them to get a guy like maybe Kevin Martin or somebody like that. If the Bulls scouting reporter pay any attention for what the Bulls are really missing in their lineup is a solid PF scorer like Al Harrington. (by giving up Tyrus Thomas & Jerome James) If they would have pay any attention they would have notice that both Kirk and Salmons are start to play really well together on a consistent everyday games. Hinrich is starting to pick up his game ever since he became a starter and Salmons is picking up his game coming off the bench by shooting at a higher percentage.

  15. sportytomboy1212@aim.com'
    dj January 25, 2010 at 5:02 am #

    K.C Johnson from the Chicago Tribute does not know what he is talking about but, I do agree with you Lopez about Hinrich and Salmons picking up their games and that their is no reason why they should trade them away for a good SG. I also think the Bulls GM’s should focuses more on getting a good PF shooter like Al Harrington or somebody like that back up Taj Gibson with scoring fire power off the bench.

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