I’ll take it, but…: Bulls 120, Pacers 110

Luol Deng got to pad his stats against Indys defense.

Luol Deng got to pad his stats against Indy's "defense."

I guess you could say this game was a little up and down.

The Bulls won the first quarter 37-18 and appeared to be on their way to a comfy-cozy win. Then the Pacers won the second quarter 36-21 to make it a game again. Chicago came out of halftime and won the third quarter 37-28 to regain a solid double-digit advantage. They maintained that lead for most of the fourth quarter, but Indiana made a late run and pulled to within eight points with 1:14 to go, forcing Vinny Del Negro to re-insert Kirk Hinrich, Luol Deng and Taj Gibson for mop-up duty.

On the one hand, the Bulls held the Pacers to 40 percent shooting, which makes it seem as though their defense was pretty solid. However, Indy’s Effective Field Goal Percentage was closer to 50 thanks to their three-point marksmanship (13-for-29) and near-perfect foul shooting (25-for-27). The Pacers scored 110 points in 106 possessions.

Indiana sure is a strange team. They hit only 42 percent (15-for-35) of their shots at the rim and went 0-for-12 from 16-to-23 feet. But they drilled 44 percent of their treys and couldn’t miss from the line. Okay, maybe that only strikes me as odd. But obviously the three-point shot is what keeps them in — or, if you think about it, out — of games. It helped kinda-sorta keep them in this one.

But the Bulls prevailed. And the victory bumped Chicago’s record to 30-27. If you enjoy simple math, they are 20-10 since starting the season 10-17. Which, as I’ve stated before, is pretty good considering all the injuries, drama and personnel changes that have gone down in the past few months.

I’m still not sure what to make of this team. By the numbers– specifically, defensive rating — their best two defensive players this season have been Tyrus Thomas and JoakimNoah. Only Thomas is gone. Meanwhile, Noah is dragging around a bum foot, and he’s averaging less than 10 minutes per game since his return (he played seven minutes last night against the Pacers). Meanwhile, Hakim Warrick has admitted to being confused by Chicago’s defensive system.

These factors could help explain why the Bulls have given up 211 points in their last two games, which feels a little worse when you consider the level of their competition. Looking ahead to the next five games, I see one road game versus the Pacers and then four home games against the Trail Blazers (34-26), Hawks (36-20), Grizzlies (29-28) and Mavericks (37-21).

To put it bluntly, Chicago is going to have to play better — and I mean mostly on the defensive end – to keep their hot streak going. This is going to be a tough stretch. Even that Pacers game could be tougher than it looks on paper. After all, the Bulls are only 4-17 in Indiana since Conceco Field House opened in 1999. That place is a Bulls graveyard.

I’m not trying to be overly negative. I’m totally stoked about how well Chicago has been playing (in general) over the last 30 games. But whenever a 23-point lead gets shaved down to only four, well, it’s a cause for at least some concern. Especially for a team that gave up a 35-point lead earlier this season.

The Bulls don’t always have a killer instinct. They can occasionally have stretches of bad decision-making and miscues (they gave up 21 points off 17 turnovers last night). And, as I pointed out, their defense is currently facing a (minor) identity crisis.

Still…the Bulls have won seven of their last nine games despite significant doubt and player turnover. Their currently sixth in the East and not that far out of fifth. So maybe it’s worth taking a deep sigh of relief for the moment.

Stat padding:
The best part about facing a porous defensive team like the Pacers — they’re 24th in PPG allowed (104.1) — is that players get to pad their stats against them.

To wit: Deng scored a game-high 31 points to go along with 9 rebounds and 4 blocks. Derrick Rose almost had a triple-double (23 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists). Gibson had a double-double (14 points, 11 boards) and 3 blocked shots. Hinrich finished with 14 points and 5 assists while shooting 6-for-8 from the field and 2-for-3 from downtown.

Flip Murray added 16 points off the bench to go with 6 boards and 3 steals while going 8-for-10 from the line.

Power of the Paint:
Chicago outrebounded the Pacers 46-38 andhad a 27.9 to 17.0 advantage in Offensive Rebound Percentage. Furthermore, the Bulls had 10 blocked shots and outscored Indy 38-32 in the paint.

Timeout tally:
1st timeout: Rose was fouled before the timeout
2nd timeout: Hinrich missed 17-footer
3rd timeout: Called after Rose turned the ball over
4th timeout: Gibson turnover (offensive foul)
5th timeout: Murray drew a foul (2-for-2)
6th timeout: Murray missed 22-footer

I was recently asked to provide a little more information about what exactly happens out of each timeout. For instance, what kind of shot did the Bulls get (wide open versus contested), whether a turnover was the result of a busted play, etc. The reason I’m not doing that is because I’m more interested in the end result free of that level of analysis. This is because the assumption is that a team should be the most prepared and get the highest percentage shots following a timeout.

That said, I’ll give it some thought and consider delving deeper in the future.

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

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14 Responses to I’ll take it, but…: Bulls 120, Pacers 110

  1. rbittmann@gmail.com'
    Russell February 25, 2010 at 2:44 pm #

    I agree. The “Timeout Tally” doesn’t tell you much. That Flip Murray 22 footer could have been “Inbound to Murray. Murray dribbles for five seconds. Fadeaway 22 footer with Granger in his face.” Or, it could have been, “Inbound to Derrick Rose off two screens to free him. Derrick Rose penetrates on a high ball screen drawing Murray’s man on a double. Murray is open for a catch-and-shoot 22 footer that rims out.” Those two say something different about the how they used the timeout.

  2. rbittmann@gmail.com'
    Russell February 25, 2010 at 2:46 pm #

    Maybe pick one “good-out-of-timeout play” and one “bad-out-of-timeout” play. Then, lose the ones that don’t matter like “Rose was fouled. Made 1-2 FTs.”

  3. rbittmann@gmail.com'
    Russell February 25, 2010 at 2:48 pm #

    Sorry for the comments. Edit to #2: “Rose had been fouled beforehand then took his free throws after the timeout.” The example I mentioned in #2 would matter.

  4. mears54321@hotmail.com'
    chad February 25, 2010 at 7:21 pm #

    Bulls are in big trouble the rest of this season. They may not even make the playoffs. Their defense is crumbling. Warrick can’t play defense, Miller is too slow to play defense, and Noah is turning into the Tyson Chandler of permanent injuries. There were times when Tyson played like an all star, but it never lasted a full season because of injuries, Noah could turn out the same. James Johnson is a few years away from being good. Gibson is gonna get tired and start playing worse after playing so many more games than usual. Law and Alexander are going to be on the bench forever. The only times we will win the rest of this year are when Rose scores 30 or Hinrich and Deng are making half their shots. We will lose most games to good teams like Portland, Atl, Lakers, Orlando, Dallas, Toronto. But we will also lose some games against the bad teams because of our lack of defense and lack of effort against bad teams. We will lose at indiana, memphis, philadelphia, milwaukee maybe new jersey again, charlotte again. We’ll probably steal a few more against good teams like Cleveland and Phoenix but we will still finish at or below .500. Superstars won’t think we are that good of a team to come to. So we will end of with a middle of the road guy like Boozer or someone worse. Wish we had a coach who acted like he was a father to his players, Tyrus needed a father. Larry Brown is sticking up for his guys like a father, when Tyrus was called for a foul Larry Brown yelled at the refs till he was thrown out of the game.

  5. stephenonks17@hotmail.com'
    steve February 25, 2010 at 8:17 pm #

    @ chad
    you are way way out of wack there.
    people need to stop crying over tyrus already, hes wasn’t good here so now hes gone. end of story.
    and a couple bad defensive games in a row all the sudden means death for the entire season?
    don’t blow things way out of proportion.
    VDN is not THAT bad of a coach. its only his 2nd year. and the no timeout during the wizards game is complete over kill, if anyone really thinks that taking a time out there wouldve won us the game they are crazy.

  6. TexasBullsFan February 25, 2010 at 9:59 pm #

    Hey Chad, why don’t you give up on following the Bulls and go worship Tyrus in Charlotte. I swear to god, one bad game and everyone wants to panic like Chicken Little. It’s unreal.

    Tyrus isn’t that good. He wasn’t that good here. He was never going to be. Tyrus doesn’t need a father figure. He needs to get his head out of his ass and start giving some damn effort. He’s not 14, he’s 24. He’s a grown man and when you’re a grown man you have to make decisions like one. He never did so he was thrown out of Chicago on his ass. 2 years too late, in my opinion.

  7. gobulls76@hotmail.com'
    bullsfan76 February 25, 2010 at 10:43 pm #

    i agree chad why dont you go ask tt to marry you shut the hell up and for your info vdn was not the only coach tt had scoot skiles didnt like tt either go away you smell like a fag lol

  8. mears54321@hotmail.com'
    chad February 25, 2010 at 11:02 pm #

    skiles brought the whole team against each other. he’s worse than del negro. my main point was this season is not going to end well.

  9. m_nazabal@yahoo.com'
    Max February 26, 2010 at 1:33 am #

    Chad Become a Bobcats fan then. Tired of reading your lame ass thoughts on Tyrus Thomas and the Bulls in general. The Bulls have won 20 out of there last 30 games. Hardly on the downswing buddy. Thomas could jump……that’s about it. And when did he become a defensive master? He always looked lost to me.

  10. Brad S. February 26, 2010 at 3:48 am #

    Seriously Chad, why such a downer? No one expected the Bulls to be champions this year. In reality, no team is ever champions every year, but does that make the season not worth playing?

    As a long-time fan, I enjoy the rise and fall and drama of it all. This year this team has been up and down and entertainng as hell all year long. Between the escapades of Tyrus, VDN getting fired, Lebron dancing, The Sacramento Choke Job, Noah throwing Duncan out of the huddle, Rose making the All-Star game, Johnson being a dissappointment, Gibson being a revelation, Ben Gordon getting his just deserts, Gar/Pax/Dorf keeping us waiting and then pulling of some trades to get us in the FA sweepstakes, etc, etc, etc. As fans, perhaps all we can realistically ask is that we are entertained. Regardless of the out-come, I think the team accomplished that!

    BTW, I don’t agree with your post, but I do not think you smell like a fag.

  11. Steve February 26, 2010 at 8:19 am #

    ALthough chad is clearly riding TTs sac on that comment, I was definitely a TT fan and he has been playing better under Brown because Larry is gonna give him a real shot. He doesnt have to worry about being benched. He was the 3rd best defender we had behind Hinrich and Noah. Yall are too hard on him. He is a baby though and had to go. Now…Chad can also go to his momma house with all that negativity about my Bulls. We gonna do some things, its our turn, go root for another team Fad.

  12. bob.edwards47@yahoo.com'
    Boppinbob February 26, 2010 at 7:11 pm #

    Chad, the Bulls are a quality team in the process of developing. Their youth leads to inconsistent effort against teams they think that they should beat. As they develop, their killer instinct will improve and they will not let down when they play lesser teams. That being said, it is apparent that the change in personnel has improved the locker room atmoshpere but adversely affected the on court chemistry. The playing time whiners are gone. Their replacements now must learn the on-court responsibilities. That will take time. Tyrus will be missed about as much as Ben Gordon. No one is irreplaceable. Larry Brown may be the best coach for Tyrus. I wish Tyrus well, but he is not a Bull anymore so I really don’t care what he does. While he was in Chicago with the Bulls he had a lot of promise that he was unable to deliver on under three different coaches. He is still young, maybe he will learn from the experience of being traded that effort goes farther then talent in the NBA. If he does, good for him, I really don’t care he didn’t fit into the Bulls long term plans because of his attitude. Goodbye, so long, etc. Chad if you are truly a Bulls fan you will focus on the team as it stands today and be realistic. Noah being injured could hurt but is unlikely to take the Bulls out of the playoffs. It could relegate them to the 7th or 8th seed as opposed to the 5th or 6th seed. The core of this team (Rose, Deng, Noah, Gibson and Hinrich) will be very attractive to FA’s. The Bulls should be able to land 1 or 2 FA’s to compliment that core. I doubt that it will be one of the superstars but it will be players that will contribute to the Bulls becoming a solid contender for both the East and the championship.

  13. gobulls76@hotmail.com'
    bullsfan76 February 27, 2010 at 12:32 am #

    hey chad you know so much do you how manny games have the boobcats won since the trade they where over five hundred and now dude get off tt sack go away

  14. gobulls76@hotmail.com'
    bullsfan76 February 27, 2010 at 12:35 am #

    they are under five hundred and skiles was a bad coach you are a dumb ass look at the years he was the coach here ohh i dont know 49 wins then 47 win you are really a dumb ass cant stress that more than what i have

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