Circus Trip: Lakers 98, Bulls 91

I just want to say up front that, when the Bulls were searching for a shooting guard last summer, I really wanted them to sign Shannon Brown. I felt like he had greater potential and a more complete skill set than the other players the Bulls were considering.

Instead, management went with  Ronnie Brewer and Keith Bogans. And, as far as I could tell, Brown — a Chicago native by the way – was never seriously considered.

Sure enough, Brown busted the Bulls last night, scoring 21 points off the Lakers’ bench while shooting 7-for-14 from the field and 5-for-10 from three-point range. And it’s not like this was an aberration game. On the season, Brown is shooting 52 percent from the field (including 50 percent from downtown) and has a Player Efficiency Rating of 20.7.

Meanwhile, Bogans and Brewer combined for 9 points on 2-for-9 shooting. And the Bulls hit fewer threes (4-for-20) than Brown did by himself.

Adding insult to injury, the Bulls were actually leading 81-79 with 7:48 to go when Brown drilled a triple that gave L.A. the lead for good. Bogans and Brewer were watching from the bench at that point.

And when it comes right down to it, Chicago was beaten by the Lakers’ depth. During the Lakers’ decisive 17-2 fourth quarter run, Steve Blake hit two threes and Matt Barnes nailed another.

But you’ve got to hand it to the Bulls. They held the league’s best offensive team to 98 points on 39 percent shooting. They shut down Pau Gasol (3-for-10), Ron Artest (1-for-8) and Derek Fisher (0-for-6). And they contained Kobe Bryant (8-for-18). But L.A.’s bench outscored Chicago’s reserves 39-10.

That was the difference.

Said Derrick Rose: “They went small, and they made some tough shots. A lot of their players stepped up their game. Shannon Brown is shooting the ball well this year. He’s got a lot of confidence, and he’s doing great for them. Everybody in the league knows that their bench is like a transition team. They get out in the open and shoot a lot of 3s, and they were hitting them tonight.”

Still, in the big picture, the Bulls hung with the Lakers, even outrebounding them (46-38) and outscoring them in the paint (42-36). Joakim Noah (19 points, 13 rebounds, 4 steals, 3 blocks) outplayed Gasol, and Taj Gibson (16 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocked shots) had a game too.

Unfortunately, down the stretch, L.A. clogged the paint and forced the Bulls to shoot jumpers. And the strategy worked.

But the Bulls are playing tough, gritty, spirited basketball right now. If they keep playing this way, a lot of good things are going to happen.

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

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18 Responses to Circus Trip: Lakers 98, Bulls 91

  1. enigmatik.inviktus@gmail.com'
    Enigmatik November 24, 2010 at 1:51 pm #

    The Bulls are getting nothing from the 2guard spot…the team would be scary if they could get at least 10ppg from the starting 2 guard…I’m pleased with the way they played for the most part, but they’ve got to hit open shots.

    Rose only had 1 assist in the second half and that’s purely because Deng, Korver, and Bogans put up brick after brick. And Deng has to stop his disappearing act…11 in the first quarter and 2 the rest of the way?

    I’m expecting them to thump Phoenix tonight and improve to 8-5 on the season.

  2. Anonymous November 24, 2010 at 1:57 pm #

    You should be able to spell Derrick correct at this point…

  3. Inception November 24, 2010 at 2:58 pm #

    what a fail for not going after Shannon Brown.

  4. choyle@bpu.com'
    Chuck November 24, 2010 at 3:24 pm #

    The game tonight is a very winnable one. The Suns are without Lopez who is the only legit center they have. The Bulls should be able to eat them alive inside because of teh Suns general disregard for defense. Rose will have his hands full with Nash. Nash is probably the best pure point over the last 10 years and he can kill you from the perimiter if you back off of him.
    My biggest fear is that this is a classic let-down game. Second night of a back-to-back on the road. You just lost an emotional game the night before against a good team. You are better than the other tem on paper… The Bulls need to come out ticked off and stomp them in the first quarter.

  5. dengsucks November 24, 2010 at 3:24 pm #

    Matt,

    Why barely the mention of Rose he was the one that kept us in that game.

    And aside from Rose, Noah, and Gibson the rest of the players could have just stayed at the hotel.

    Deng is playing like crap.

  6. rhettss@gmail.com'
    icicle November 24, 2010 at 3:44 pm #

    Other than Rose, Gibson, and Noah, the bulls team has been generally unimpressive. Deng plays good defense and has hustle, but no consistency.

    I’ve noticed that the Bulls play great interior defense- switching and helping. But they are late to rotate to shooters. The knicks and lakers games, particularly.

    Agreed, the SG position is weak. But there has been glimpses of ‘very-goodness’ in the three headed B-B-W.

    The lakers play great defense. And they really wanted to win tonight.

    The bulls = amazing rebounding team.

  7. TBF November 24, 2010 at 4:27 pm #

    If Noah doesn’t get an all-star invite, it’ll be a crime against humanity. That guy is just off the charts. He shut Gasol down. He didn’t limit him; he SHUT HIM DOWN.

    Rose was typically good. I thought we were going to get a big game out of Deng, but after a great 1st quarter he vanished into thin air. I guess that happens when Ron Artest is guarding you. Of course, for his part, Luol made Artest do completely nothing. 2 points from Artest? Take that every night.

    I honestly think there’s no shame in losing to a great team on its home court. Bulls played real hard and gave the Lakers everything they wanted. When we get Boozer back and finally get some play out of any shooting guard (or C.J. Watson for that matter, he’s been a monstrous disappointment) we’ll be really hard to beat.

    This was a good measuring-stick game. The Bulls are almost there.

  8. SteveL November 24, 2010 at 5:14 pm #

    Enigmatic, its more than just a disappearing act. Deng has simply become a shell of his former self. It hurts to watch Deng play.

    1. Deng can’t hit open shots. D-Rose sets Deng up for open looks at least 7-10 times per game. I can’t stand watching Rose’s effort to create open looks be wasted by Deng’s poor shooting skills.

    2. The Bulls want him to become more of a slasher; however, he doesn’t have the instinct, handles or aggressiveness to create his own shots. Any time Deng drives, I cringe. Deng gets blocked WAY TOO MUCH for a player that is 6’9″. … I wish Stormin’ Norman (RIP) was still on the post-game show because he told it like it was – and he would rip Deng apart (maybe that would wake Deng up and make him realize how awful he looks on the court)

    3. Deng is not athletic at all and has terrible coordination. While Deng plays hard defense, it isn’t very effective. He looks so unbalanced on D and often gets abused by his opponent.

    4. Deng is terrible in transition – especially on the fast break. A 3-on-1 fast break should be an automatic two points. However, when Deng is playing, he never makes the extra pass (despite the fact that a teammate usually is in better position) and often ends up getting blocked or missing a layup that he shouldn’t have taken in the first place.

    What happened to 2006-2007 Deng, who was a very efficient player and was Mr. Reliable from 18ft? Is there any team out there that would be willing to take on Deng’s contract?

  9. dssinger@law.gwu.edu'
    DS November 24, 2010 at 5:47 pm #

    Matt,

    Agreed that Shannon Brown would have been a better choice at the 2 than Brewer for the long-term. My problem with Bogans and Brewer is that they have extremely overlapping skill sets. They are both strong defenders; Bogans is a moderately better shooter (not saying much); and Brewer is bigger and can finish better around the basket. Like you said, Brown has a much more complete offensive game. And he would’ve come about 2 million cheaper than Brewer. He’s got a player option for only 2.3 million for the 2011-12 season, while Brewer has 4.7 million guaranteed for that season.

    I imagine the Lakers will try to lock him up as the 2 for the post-Kobe era, but we might still have a shot at him with his Chicago ties. Combined with the other pieces we have for 2012-13 and beyond, I’d like our shot in the Eastern Conference with the homegrown backcourt of Rose and Brown.

    But, returning from my daydream about the future, I have a question for Matt. Do you think we’ll see a lineup with Deng at the 2 and Gibson at the 3 once Boozer gets healthy? We’d lose (a tiny bit of) 3 point shooting, but Deng, Gibson, and Boozer can all space the floor with their strong medium-range shooting. Plus, that would be a hell of a team for defense and rebounding.

  10. Cris November 24, 2010 at 6:12 pm #

    Has anyone else noticed that a good portion of Bulls turnovers come on bounce passes? This is in every game also. They seem to be forcing them in. I really hope coach Thibaudeau brings it up to the team and they learn to back off for a better safer pass.
    Bulls fan for life!

  11. jake_vick@hotmail.com'
    Jake in Minnie (actually Waukegan right now) November 24, 2010 at 6:50 pm #

    Personally, I hope the Bulls give Stackhouse a look after he was released from the Heat.

    http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/22017/stackhouse-on-heat-release-no-complaints

  12. thebballkid@gmail.com'
    Ivo November 24, 2010 at 8:43 pm #

    Can’t believe you didn’t rip Kyle a new one after last night. Completely invisible, except for when he was clearly sucking on D.

    When you look at Bogans & Brewer you see grunt payers. When you look at Korver, you hope for something better than that with the jumpshot he has and the speed coming off of screens. Where was that last night?

  13. gorditadog@aol.com'
    Gorditadog November 24, 2010 at 8:45 pm #

    DS- did you notice that when the Lakers went small last night they went on a 17-2 run? That is what will happen if you try to have Deng and Gibson guard smaller, quicker defenders.

    Besides the defensive mismatches, the other key to the game last night was Pau’s fourth quarter defense. We could not score in the paint, even though Lakers had Barnes and Bryant at the forward spots. That left us shooting jumpers, and we couldn’t make them.

  14. handkuft@yahoo.com'
    GotNext November 25, 2010 at 12:09 am #

    I bet Hakim Warrick is so hyped up for this game he might even get a rebound or two

  15. inkybreath@gmail.com'
    inkybreath November 25, 2010 at 1:05 am #

    Are we really this up in arms about a super-deep 2-loss team that is the Lakers? Yes, I am upset that we were in position to win the game and couldn’t pull it out, but they are diesel with Bynum and we shut down the marquee players. We can spin this a bunch of different ways, but we still have a team getting to know each other, how everyone reacts at home and on the road with a brand new coach. Sit back, let the guy tweak and do his job and we will see the results. Hey, maybe it stays this way and it’s all about Boozer. But, I still feel like this team is cultivating its identity.

    I am okay with this 7 point loss to a Top 3 team in their building.

  16. Taekmkm@hotmail.com'
    Tae November 25, 2010 at 2:08 am #

    Who cares about bench deficiency and injuries and no Boozer? How about that 28th rank free throwing that should be fixed…hmm…now? Jeez, how many games have the Bulls given away because they are one of the worst teams in free-throwing?

  17. bob.edwards47@yahoo.com'
    BoppinBob November 25, 2010 at 6:37 pm #

    Tae, I agree with you that FT’s are an issue but not one that is as critical as you imply when you look at the Bulls 4th qtr FT percentage. They shoot FT’s significantly better in the 4th qtr, that tells you that it is a focus issue and not a skill set issue. As the season progresses I believe that the Bulls overall FT% will improve.

    The Laker’s 5 starters average 95.5/ppg, against the Bulls they scored 59 points. Granted, the bench did not do the same job defensively but that will improve when Gibson joins the bench as Boozer joins the starters.

    @dengsucks, give it up. With out Deng the Bulls would not be doing what they are doing. He is a top 10 SF and is paid like a top ten SF. Right now he is filling the role as the second scoring option and has responded in a spotty fashion. But let’s remember that his intended role is the third scoring option after Rose and Boozer. He will fill that role admirably and be a major factor on defense and that is how the Bulls were intentionally constructed. The front line will have a big time scorer (Boozer) and two solid scorers (Deng & Noah) with two above average defenders (Deng & Noah) sandwiching an average defender (Boozer).

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