Game 42 Recap: Bobcats 83, Bulls 82

deng a ling


Here are the top 10 things I hated about this loss:

10. The Revenge of Tyrus Thomas:
Heading into last night’s game, Thomas’ highest averages for PPG (14.3) and RPG (8.3) against any team were against the Bulls. Seriously. Check his career splits. If Ty had given the kind of consistent effort when he was with the Bulls that he now gives against the Bulls, he’d probably still be on the team.

Ah well.

Tyrus didn’t have big numbers last night — 8 points, 3-for-8, 2 rebounds, 2 steals, an assist and a block — but he had a game-high plus-minus score of +11. Thomas was a spark for the Bobcats. Better late than never I guess.

9. Turnovers:
Before this game, I had planned to mention how well the Bulls had been taking care of the ball lately. The team had been averaging only 12.1 in January, including a season-low seven turnovers last week against the Pacers.

Then they got careless, committing 14 turnovers, which turned into 25 points going the other way. I’m sure you’ll agree that 23 points are a lot to give away in a one-point loss. It also represents 30 percent of the points the Bobcats scored.

8. Stupid “and 1” fouls:
The Bulls committed ticky-tac fouls four times as a Charlotte player was attempting a layup. The most damaging of these was when Ronnie Brewer fouled Gerald Wallace in the act of shooting with 1:13 left in the game. Wallace converted both the shot and the free throw to transform a 78-76 Bulls lead into a 79-78 deficit. It was a killer play.

7. Time mismanagement:
Rose hit a five-footer to pull the Bulls to within a point (83-82) with 25 seconds left…then proceeded to let 15 seconds run off the clock without fouling.

Mind you, the Bulls did execute a trap that forced the Bobcats to call timeout with 10 seconds left, and they were awarded the ball (thanks to video review) with eight seconds left after poking the ball away but off of D.J. Augustine. But still. They let a lot of valuable time slip away.

6. Poor interior defense:
The Bobcats didn’t exactly light up the scoreboard. To wit: They converted only 40.2 percent of their 87 field goal attempts. But they did shoot 15-for-23 (65 percent) around the rim and scored 46 of their 83 points in the painted area.

Here’s some added perspective on Charlotte’s at-the-rim shooting percentage. On the season, the Bulls rank 8th in at-the-rim defense (60.8) and the Bobcats rank 25th in at-the-rim conversion (59.8). I’m just sayin’.

5. No inside game:
The Bulls really suffered from Carlos Boozer’s absence last night. They finished with only 28 points in the paint and simply couldn’t get anything going inside.

According to Hoopdata, only 19 of their 77 shot attempts were at the rim, and they converted only 10 of those attempts. Meanwhile, they went 8-for-31 (25 percent) from 16-23 feet. That’s the worst shot in basketball, by the way. Without Boozer, and to a lesser extent without Noah, the Bulls reverting back into a jump shooting team. Which might work if they had more shooters…

4. Terrible shooting:
Outside of D-Rose (14-for-28) and Ronnie Brewer (6-for-11), the Bulls couldn’t have lobbed a beach ball into the ocean.

They shot 39 percent as a team. Luol Deng went 2-for-11. Taj Gibson was 2-for-7. Kurt Thomas shot 2-for-6. Keith Bogans had his usual 1-for-3 performance. Kyle Korver, C.J. Watson and Omer Asik were a combined 3-for-11.

The Bulls went flat broke from the field. In all fairness, they were playing the second night of back-to-backs — and their fourth game in five nights — minus their second and third-best players…but it was ugly to watch. Very ugly.

3. Fatigue:
Okay, so, like I was saying, the Bulls were playing their fourth game in five nights. And last week, they concluded a stretch of five games in seven nights. Rose, Deng and Gibson all logged at least 40 minutes the previous night in Memphis, and poor Luol is averaging 40 MPG in January (and 39.2 MPG on the season).

I know this is a “no excuses” league. But the guys looked and played tired.

2. The “clutch” offense:
With 36 seconds left, Stephen Jackson hit a turnaround jumper over Kyle Korver. I saw that coming the whole way. I don’t know if anybody else has noticed this, but when an offensive player draws Korver as a defender, they almost always shoot the ball.

The worst part was that Kurt Thomas knew it was coming and made a passive lunge toward the play…and a quick double might have prevented or disrupted the shot. All I could think was, “If Joakim had been there, Jackson might have been eating that ball.”

So anyway, now it was Charlotte by a point (81-80).

The Bulls called timeout. Coach Thibodeau subbed in Brewer for Korver, which is kind of funny when you think about it: Keeping Kyle in for the defensive possession and then switching him out for Brewer for the offensive possession. But whatever. I’m not the coach. Rose drew a double-team and found Brewer under the hoop.

Now, personally, I thought Ronnie should have gone up with the ball. Yes, I realize that the Bobcats D was rotating. But Brewer is an athletic finisher and, who knows, maybe he could have drawn a foul. Instead, he passes to Luol Deng — who was 2-for-10 at the time — for a three-pointer. Granted, the shot was as wide open as they get, but you don’t want a fatigued player who’s having a bad shooting night firing from 26 feet with the game on the line.

At least, I don’t want that.

Then, on Chicago’s final offensive sequence, Kurt Thomas fired a pass to Korver under the hoop. Would I have minded Brewer taking that shot? No. Did I want Kyle taking that shot? Hell no. Sure enough, Tyrus swatted the ball out of bounds with three seconds left. The ball was inbounded to Rose, who, to his credit, got a semi-clean look from 19 feet out. But it wasn’t really the kind of shot teams win games with.

1. A wasted opportunity:
The Bulls (28-14) have the third-best record in the Eastern Conference, behind the Celtics (31-9) and Heat (30-13). However, they’re barely a step ahead of Atlanta (28-15) and Orlando (26-15). The race is tight…and homecourt advantage could mean everything come playoff time.

At the end of the season, losses like this — not to mention losses to the Clippers, Nets and Sixers — could come back to haunt the Bulls.

Bonus video:
I didn’t include this in my top 10 list only because, for the most part, I try to avoid bringing officiating into the discussion. But what a way to end the first half. Augustine gets away with a very obvious traveling violation on a breakaway layup (with an official five feet from him) and then Rose gets called for a phantom offensive foul. As Charles Barkley would say: Turrible.

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

12 Responses to Game 42 Recap: Bobcats 83, Bulls 82

  1. Inception January 19, 2011 at 2:01 pm #

    I could’ve sworn that last second shot by Rose was going in…ah well….we’re playing minus Boozer and Noah….can’t expect to win ’em all.

    Charlotte has LA’s number, so I wouldn’t read too much into this….as long as we don’t matchup with them in the playoffs 😉

    TJ January 19, 2011 at 2:15 pm #

    Anyone notice on that travel video that Derrick travels on the ensuing inbounds?

    Tony C. January 19, 2011 at 4:01 pm #

    The non-travel call was one of the worst I’ve ever seen.

    Silas is correct: there was no excuse for the refs not having reviewed the last out of bounds call.

    I’m all for being unpredictable, and there are many times that I wince when Rose goes one-on-three with time expiring. But with seven seconds remaining, and down only one, I don’t understand why he didn’t just drive to the hoop, and either get contact and a probable foul call, or kick out for a spot-up jumper.

  4. TBF January 19, 2011 at 4:08 pm #

    Well, one can easily bring up officiating. If that travel (which was blatant and can’t even be argued as a judgment call) was called, the Bulls win the game by 1. That *was* the margin of difference.

    Again, some great phantom coaching from Thibs, putting in Brewer for offense and Korver for defense. Dunno what the thought process was there, but if VDN had done it every fan in Chicago would be screaming for his head. Again, he ran out of timeouts late in the game, so the Bulls couldn’t diagram up a last play. We got Korver trying for a reverse layup that wouldn’t have fooled my mother and then a wild ,semi-open jumper for the win. That’s not very good and couldn’t be what Thibs would have drawn up. Wasn’t that something that VDN was especially bad at? Time-out management? Hmm…

    Patrick January 19, 2011 at 4:32 pm #

    Agree with your assessment of the game. Frustrating in a lot of ways – as your top 10 list covers.

    But I don’t see how ‘time mismanagement’ makes your list. Charlotte’s last possession – up 1 with 25 seconds to play – ended without them getting off a shot or getting to the free-throw line. Bulls forced a turnover and got the ball back with around 7 seconds. Seems like a pretty good result.

    Is that gonna be the outcome every time? Probably not. But results matter. Being down 1 with 7 seconds on the clock is a much more appealing proposition than down 3 with closer to 20.

    An ideal situation? Nope. But neither is ideal – Bulls put themselves in a crappy situation no matter what at the end of the game. But 7 seconds seems like (and turned out to be) enough time to run a viable play for a winning bucket – the Bulls actually had enough time to run a pair of plays.

  6. Matt January 19, 2011 at 6:19 pm #

    I’m just curious, is there a difference in the number of foul calls Rose gets when Boozer is playing vrs inactive? Just seems like he’s the only one talking to the refs.

  7. Brian January 19, 2011 at 7:41 pm #

    honestly, i don’t think thibs is a great head coach. his defensive prowess is top notch, but a lot of his decision-making is questionable at best. a lot of other people have seemingly voiced the same concern, but are shrugging it off because the bulls are winning, and winning often.

    if chicago had a less-than-stellar record this season, people would be calling for thibodeau’s head, and crucifying these decisions, rather than just acknowledging them. i’m probably one of them, too. although like i said, i do think thibs’ gameplanning and strategies make me wonder (i.e. bogans, leaving in brewer on O/korver on D, john lucas’ free throws, benching boozer/deng/rose in the 4th (we lost), etc.). once again, i’m happy with the bulls’ record and play, but those little mistakes have proved costly.

    oh, and i’ll actually agree with chitown4life. we got some shitty calls, and that travel was straight up felonious.

  8. Inception January 19, 2011 at 11:55 pm #

    @Brian, what the hell do you expect from a rookie HEAD coach? yes, he’s been in the NBA for a while as an assistant, but being a head coach is a whole different ball game….he has to make decisions from all angles, instead of specializing on one aspect (defense)…i’m pretty sure he’s learning from his mistakes, as any rookie head coach would do.

    bottomline – Thibs is a candidate for COY, and he’s legit.

  9. Luvabull January 20, 2011 at 1:10 am #

    Ok. I’m a Big Bulls fan too, but….
    The officials made two bad calls AGAINST Bobcats that were very questionable. They awarded the ball to the Bulls not once but twice in the final 10 seconds. If I didn’t know better, I’d say Stern was in the building and wanted to see a big market team win.

    The Bulls played an awful game, even accounting for Boozer and Noah being out. Other than Rose and Brewer, everyone else was off their game.

  10. Inception January 20, 2011 at 2:38 pm #

    my comment was removed because I used the word “hell”? what is this? sesame street?

  11. Inception January 20, 2011 at 2:39 pm #

    sorry, it magically showed up…..buggy comment feature.

  12. Super Joe January 20, 2011 at 8:24 pm #

    *queue music* Can someone show me how to get… how to get to Sesame Street?

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