Different story, same ending: Knicks 88, Bulls 81

Rose on the fly

Were the Bulls suffering from an emotional hangover after their epic failure against the Kings on Monday night? Well, let me put it this way: the Knicks entered Tuesday night’s game ranked 22nd in Defensive Efficiency (106.5 Points Allowed Per 100 Possessions), and yet the Bulls staggered through a first quarter in which they scored only 12 points on 6-for-21 shooting while committing four turnovers. Chicago finished the first half with a point total (31) that was hardly bigger than their deficit (22).

I guess you could call that an emotional hangover.

In a reversal of the previous night’s debacle, the Bulls were the team who fought their way out of a huge crater. They did it behind the only three players who have been worth a darn this season: Derrick Rose scored 22 of his 26 points in the second half, Joakim Noah ripped down 21 rebounds to go with his 10 points, and Luol Deng added 23 points, 8 boards and 4 blocked shots. Those three guys accounted for all but nine of Chicago’s 50 second-half points.

Unfortunately, three was not enough. The Bulls actually pulled to within a point (80-79) on (gulp) one of Noah’s deadly Earthballs with 1:40 left, but that was as close as they could cut it. On New York’s next possession, Chris Duhon missed a layup, but David Lee snared the offensive board and got fouled by Joakim. The situation was eerily reminiscent of Jon Brockman’s offensive rebound that led to Tyreke Evans’ game-breaking 22-footer the previous night. Lee knocked down the foul shots and then it was a race against the clock. A race the Bulls lost.

So yeah, it was great the Bulls came back, but the end result was still another loss. All the team did was avoid some embarrassment. It reminds me of what Kevin McHale said after his Celtics almost came back against the Pistons in Game 6 of the 1991 Eastern Conference Semifinals: “Yeah, and the patient almost lived.”

In other words, moral victories are meaningless.

Noah seems to agree with McHale’s sentiment. He said the Bulls “definitely have a lot of soul searching to do” and added: “If you were my friend, I would tell you a lot of things, but I feel like if I say something, it’s just going to make things really bad. I’m not in a position as a player to really talk on that. We’re really going through hard times and I don’t want to make it even tougher.”

Huh. That doesn’t sound good.

Meanwhile, coach Vinny Del Negro sounded like he hit a “repeat” button from Monday night’s press conference: “We can’t play just a half of basketball. We’re not that good of a team to do that. We have to play consistently the whole game and we haven’t done that the last couple of nights and you usually get what you deserve, like I always say.”

Vinny had better hope that’s not true. For his sake. Otherwise, he might end up with a pink slip for Christmas.

Update! Check out this burning dis on Vinny and the team from Ken Burger of CBS Sports: “That wasn’t the only indictment of Del Negro that emerged Tuesday night. The most troubling, to me, came during the layup line. Less than 24 hours after blowing a 35-point lead on their home floor, the Bulls were clowning around during warmups as though they were getting ready to play the Rockettes. Miller, who contributed nothing but a scowl after tipoff, exerted more energy blocking shots and throwing alley-oop bounce passes than he did in the game. I learned two things from watching the Bulls’ layup drill: 1) Jannero Pargo can’t dunk, despite a half dozen of his best efforts; and 2) The Bulls are an undisciplined mess, a team that lacked the conscience to be ashamed of what happened to them the night before.”


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

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16 Responses to Different story, same ending: Knicks 88, Bulls 81

  1. mjlynch2@gmail.com'
    Mike Lynch December 23, 2009 at 2:21 pm #

    This is from Adrian Wojnarowski, of Yahoo! Sports:
    “Chicago lost 88-81, with a paltry 31 halftime points. One NBA scout courtside insisted that, “Vinny ran three [different] plays the whole half and barely made any [play] calls. We don’t even know what to write down. They had a lot more variety last year, a lot more ball movement. It was almost like Vinny said, ‘Screw it, you guys figure it out.’ ””

    As for coaches… What about Sam Mitchell? He knows how to run an offense.

  2. detroitmurderdog@gmail.com'
    Detroit Murder Dog December 23, 2009 at 2:24 pm #

    John Salmons needs to be traded ASAP. He is killing the team in the present by shooting an awful %, and will kill the team’s cap flexibility next summer if he opt-in. He needs to go now. Start Kurt and take your chances with whoever we get back in the trade as a backup.

  3. adamkralic@hotmail.com'
    Adam December 23, 2009 at 2:33 pm #

    Vinny has to go. Plain and simple. I never understood how he got the job in the first place. No coaching experience at any level whatsoever. It truly shows. I’ve never before seen a team that was uncoached. This Bulls team is uncoached though. Which is a shame as Rose and Noah could truly be special talents. a great 1 – 5 combo if ever there was one. But those are all “ifs” at this point.

    Can we get Jeff Van Gundy? He’s been out of the loop for a few years…but I listened to him on WFAN/post game interviews for years before moving to Chicago…he is truly a brilliant basketball mind. Every player that ever played for Jeff was fiercely loyal to him. All of his teams improved dramatically on defense too.

    I never bought the no offense knock against JVG either. He played to his team’s strength everytime. When you have Ewing…you play halfcourt period. When you have Yao Ming…see? But JVG was absolutely able to stop the run n gun teams. Hard to imagine aman who lives and breathes off court work…being able to dissect the run n gun offense sooooo effectively but not be able to run it if he had the personal that would benefit.

  4. aballate@gmail.com'
    Die Hard Bulls Fan NJ December 23, 2009 at 3:10 pm #

    What can one feel when describing the putrid Bulls offense other than soreness to the eyes. The Bulls only have three plays and by now everyone in the league knows what the Bulls are going to do- screen up top and look for someone to shoot a jumpshot. The pick and role doesn’t work this year because(as hard as it is for me to admit) the Bulls are missing, Ben Gordon, a cold blooded shooter that can space the floor for Derrick Rose and our pick and roll. Teams clog the paint when Rose drives and anticipate the pass to Deng. Because you can’t fire a team you have to fire the coach the Bulls plays are as predictable as they are ineffective. Maybe new blood on the sideline such as Lawerence Frank is the right fit who knows but until the bulls attack the basket with the intention of scoring sadly nothing with change.

  5. aballate@gmail.com'
    Die Hard Bulls Fan NJ December 23, 2009 at 3:16 pm #

    Also blame Vinny for the lack of dominance shown by Derrick Rose. It seems like Vinny is waiting every night for Rose to wake up and take over the same way he did in the 3rd quarter of last night’s game. Rose claims because of being the point guard he can’t be selfish; the team NEEDS him to be selfish and be the player that makes other teams double him freeing his team mates. Vinny needs to tell him the only way the Bulls have a chance to salvage the season and save Vinny’s job is for Rose to be a selfish superstar.

  6. bscholtens@hotmail.com'
    Brad S. December 23, 2009 at 4:03 pm #

    Does anyone know if coaches salaries count against the cap? If they do, than getting another coach doesn’t help they Bulls chances of picking up a good free agent, or resigning certain guys this next off-season. I wonder when Skiles’ contract is up and if that still counts against the Bull’s cap space. If so, I suppose in the end this really does all boil down to GarPaxDorf. This trainwreck has been a long line of bad moves and twisted reasoning.

    Hey, on the bright side, we haven’t had to talk about Tyrus’ poor shot selection in a while!!

  7. chicondo@hotmail.com'
    luvabullnj December 23, 2009 at 5:48 pm #

    I’ve heard a lot of fire VDN but not enough, don’t go to games. I can’t think of any better way to send GarPaxDorf a message then for Bulls fans to STOP supporting the team. Enough is Enough! It is now more than a decade and the Bulls are still sagging with no real hope for the near future.
    By the way, anyone buying into the whole we’ll get D-Wade or Bosh in the summer is a sucker. Wouldn’t Bosh much rather go to Miami (which has more cap room) and Wade would stay put. Or Bosh could go to the Cavs with Shaq’s $20 Mill coming off the books. Or sign with OKC to play with Durant and be closer to his home in Texas. New Jersey also has a ton of cap space, an all-star point guard and an all-star in the making center in Lopez with nice wing players in CD-R and Lee to boot. And as people pointed out Salmons is likely to OPT-IN leaving the Bulls at most $15 mil in cap space which won’t be enough for a Tier-1 FA. Oh yeah, and the Jazz just made a savvy trade to reduce $9 mil in Lux Tax, so Boozer looks like he’s a Jazz for the rest of the season.
    Just so I’m not all negative, there’s a couple of options the Bulls could try now to shake things up and if they don’t work, it doesn’t jeopardize the summer of 2010.

    Brad Miller to the Blazers for D. Miles (throwaway) and Jaryd Bayless. There are no minutes for the rook on a contender and the Blazers are without a center after loosing both Oden and Przybilla. With Tyrus coming back and the way Taj has played, Miller is expendable now. Bayless is short for a two guard but he’s a scorer, can create his own shot and well we did alright with a certain other too small to be a two guard type player, didn’t we.

    Another I think, a better possibility is T-Mac. He’s at a whopping $23 Mil but it comes off the books at the end of the season. We could package Miller, Jarome James and the contract of Tim Thomas. Rockets are doing well and don’t really want T-Mac in the line up and would gain a serviceable center to fill for Yao this year. At this point, a half a T-Mac looks better than a whole Salmon-burger. And if T-Mac gets back to his old form, we’ve solved our shooting guard, scoring and perimeter shooting deficiencies all at once.

    Wonder what Sam Smith would say about the T-Mac deal?

  8. chicondo@hotmail.com'
    luvabullnj December 23, 2009 at 5:55 pm #

    To Brad S.
    The coach’s salary does not count toward the cap.

    On the T-Mac trade we could substitute Salmons for Tim Thomas’ contract and it would give another $5 mil cap space for 2010. But there’s a huge risk if T-Mac goes down again. But we’re going nowhere fast this season anyway so it’s worth the risk.

  9. usmcroc22@msn.com'
    Rocky December 23, 2009 at 8:57 pm #

    Three trades that make sense for this team:

    Brad Miller, John Salmons, Jerome James for Tracy McGrady, Joey Dorsey, second round pick.

    Taj Gibson for Courtney Lee

    second round pick+cash to milwaukee for SF-Joe Alexander

    starting lineup-subs
    C-Joakim Noah(s)Joey Dorsey
    PF-Tyrus Thomas(s)James Johnson
    SF-Luol Deng(s)Joe Alexander
    SG-Tracy McGrady(s)Courtney Lee
    PG-Derrick Rose(s)Kirk Hinrich

    Doesn’t that make us more balanced and puts us 10 deep in our rotation. Joey Dorsey can be a ben wallace player and I think James Johnson would excell much more as a power forward in this league than a small forward. Joe Alexander doesn’t even play in milwaukee, even though he’s a excellent athlete and can knock down the perimeter shot. They obviously are letting him go after the season by declining his 2010 option right now. New Jersey has excess backcourt talent and a Taj for Lee is a fair trade. Taj would be an upgrade over josh boone and yi jianlian at the power forward position and Lee gives us depth in the backcourt.

  10. felipeagarcia87@hotmail.com'
    felipe garcia December 24, 2009 at 12:01 am #

    I like your ideas that you guys are putting out their on the table but, getting T-MAC? are you guys crazy? Lets face it, he is not the same Super Star player he once was. I rather just keep John Salmon and Brad Miller then to get T-Mac that will eventually get hurt again with a huge injury. Taj Gibson for Courtney Lee that another dumb move because I am pretty sure that the Bulls are not going to keep Tyrus Thomas. I rather give them Jerome James & Tyrus Thomas for Al Harrigton or David West. And I would rather give the nets John Salmons for Courtney Lee and Keyon Dooling. And for Milwaukee I would give them James Johnson and some small cash for Joe Alexander.

  11. mrgarcia87@yahoo.com'
    mike killer December 24, 2009 at 4:51 am #

    I totally agree with my cuzin garcia, the Bulls need to make some big changes right away if they want to make a playoff run. Right now, I would like to see Jerome James, Tyrus Thomas, Johnson Salmons, Brad Miller and James Johnson traded for good quality players. Like Al Harrigton, David West, David Lee and Courtney Lee and a new coach course like Byron Scott over Jeff Van Gundy. Like like JVG but, I still think Byron Scott is a better coach because of what he did with CP3 and eventually he can turn Derrick Rose as good as him.

  12. mrgarcia87@yahoo.com'
    mike killer December 24, 2009 at 4:52 am #

    I like JVG but,*

  13. rossana-AHA@hotmail.c?om'
    dj December 24, 2009 at 3:10 pm #

    I also agree with most of you guys. The Bulls need a new COACH like Byron Scott or somebody like that with positive playoff experience and they also need a go to guy SCORER that can hit big shoots in late games for them, to take some pressure off D. Rose like BG did last season.

  14. tc643@hotmail.com'
    Tony C. December 24, 2009 at 10:14 pm #

    I’m glad that most are now seeing the light. Yes, the Bulls have personnel issues, but without a competent coach, the team will continue to underperform or (more likely) deteriorate.

    No question that the organization is atrocious, but if they allow VDN to remain as coach for much longer, then they are even worse than I had imagined.

    Remember, though, that it’s not so much about winning games and making the playoffs this year, it’s about developing Rose, Noah and Taj, and making smart trades.


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