Chicago Bulls 98, Cleveland Cavaliers 87: What did we learn?


Last night, Luol Deng took the court for the first time in a game involving the Chicago Bulls while wearing the other uniform. It was weird, even as the Bulls beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 98-87. Remember when we all assumed the Cavs would make the playoffs and the Bulls would drop out after the trade? Yeah, not so much.

Anyway, here’s what we learned.


(H/T to Dane Carbaugh of SBNation for that video. Here it is in gif form, if you prefer.)

If you can watch that without getting emotional, you’re either a robot or you’re a terrible human being. Or both, I suppose. Lu also dapped up the entire Bulls coaching staff before the opening tip, which didn’t make me tear up at all.

Deng had kind of a rough night, finishing with 11 points and 5 rebounds in 40 minutes. But I still love him, and I wish the Cavs sucked less.

2. Neil Funk, still stupid.

See, this is why I don’t listen to the broadcast when I watch Bulls games. I listen to Paramore instead, these days.

3. Who are you and what have you done with the real DJ Augustin?

Since joining the Bulls, DJ Augustin’s per-36 numbers look like this: 15.7 points, 7.4 assists, 1.5 steals, 43.3% FG, 41.7% 3PT, 92.6% FT, 18.0 PER, .589 TS%, .186 WS/48.

Um, what?

DJ went off for 27-5-7 last night, going 8/14 from the field, 5/8 from three and 6/6 from the line. With the exception of Kyrie Irving’s 15-point second quarter, Augustin thoroughly outplayed him. This is the second time in about a month that this has happened. I’m just as confused as you are.

4. Taj Gibson is better than you.

Taj tied his career high with 26 points on 11/15 from the field as he played almost 43 minutes after starting in place of Carlos Boozer. In doing so, he proved once and for all that he is better than Boozer in pretty much every way and as such should be starting whether Boozer is healthy or not. But, as I wrote before the season, such a change is unlikely.

(Note: this also applies to Kirk Hinrich vs. Augustin.)

5. The Bulls’ new best lineup doesn’t get enough minutes.

The reason why that lineup doesn’t get enough minutes should be obvious: Tom Thibodeau is loathe to pull Jimmy Butler for any significant period of time, especially after the Deng trade, what with Jimmy being by far the Bulls best wing defender. But the reason(s) why that particular lineup is successful should be nearly as obvious. It features their best playmaker (Augustin), a solid secondary ball-handler (Tony Snell), their two best bigs (Noah and Gibson), and three above-average shooters (DJ, Snell, and Mike Dunleavy).

Alas, as I just said, this lineup never will get the minutes it really should. I love Jimmy Butler to death, but he’s standing in the way of an amazing lineup. Also Kirk Hinrich, when he’s not hurt.

That’s all I got. The Bulls are off today, but they’ll host the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday.

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