Not exactly the playoff rematch everybody was expecting

After the Bulls downed the Spurs in their season opener, I included the following statement in my reasons for concer: “…the fact that the Bulls have to face the Celtics in Boston tonight after beating the Spurs in Chicago last night, a game that threatens to kill all the good mojo created by their game-opening win…”

Just call me Nostradamus.

It wasn’t too hard to figure, really. The Celtics had a day of rest going for them, and they were playing at home. The Bulls were coming off a big home win against a championship contender, and they had to hit the road immediately afterward to play another contender. (Note that the Bulls arrived at their Boston hotel at around 3 a.m. An hour later, a malfunctioning fire alarm went off for several hours. Must have been Red Auerbackhs ghost.) And remember how flat the Spur looked on the second night of back-to-backs?

Still, that 118-90 beatdown was a real bummer of a loss. Only Joakim Noah (16 points, 7-for-10, 10 rebounds, four assists, two blocked shots) played well. Derrick Rose couldn’t create shots for his teammates and dished only two assists in 24 minutes. Luol Deng bricked his first five field goal attempts and scored only four points on eight shots. Tyrus Thomas almost had a double-double (10 points, 8 boards) but went 3-for-7 (including 1-for-3 on layups and 0-for-2 on jumpers). And John Salmons (missed his first six shots, finished 2-for-14) played even worse than he did against the Spurs…which I didn’t think was possible.

Said Brad Miller: “That was an old-fashioned ass-whooping. You can go across the board with everything. They kicked our ass in. They were more physical. They moved the ball. They hit a lot of 3s and our defense obviously wasn’t there.”

More physical is right. There was plenty of uncalled contact last night, especially when the Bulls dared to venture into the paint, which is why they hit only 10 of their 21 layup attempts. A team missing more than half of its point-blank shots is a bad sign. So is missing almost 70 percent of its jumpers (including only 2-for-14 from downtown).

If the offense was bad, the defense was road kill. The Celtics shot almost 60 percent from the field despite Rasheed Wallace’s 2-for-9 performance.  Boston also canned 50 percent of their treys. It was just that kind of night.

“Uh oh” Watch:
Salmons is now 5-for-29 in the first two games (2-for-14 in threes). According to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune: “Asked if he’s OK with his shot selection, Salmons paused for 27 seconds, uttered one ‘um’ and took three deep breaths before answering. ‘I’ll go to the film and see what the defense is doing, see what I’m doing wrong and adjust,’ Salmons said. ‘I’ve never been this bad. I have to do something different.'” God I hope so.

This is probably a bad time to mention that Ben Gordon is averaging 23.5 PPG and hitting 50 percent of his threes for the Pistons so far this season.

TrueHoop Network:
Zach Lowe from Celtics Hub: “So, to clarify: Rondo’s teammates took 21 shots directly off of Rondo passes — Rondo would have been credited with 21 assists had they made them all. Rose, in 24 minutes of playing time, created a whopping 5 shots for his teammates. Once again: Rajon created 21 shots in 30 minutes for his teammates; Rose created 5 in 24. You take Derrick, I’ll take Rajon.”

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

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5 Responses to Not exactly the playoff rematch everybody was expecting

    Buck Nasty October 31, 2009 at 11:26 pm #

    Well, looks like Fishface being a replacement for Ben may not have been a good prediction. It’s still early in the season, however. There’s still hope. NO ONE PANIC. NO ONE….*sound of bricks clanking drowns out screams*

    beegreezy November 1, 2009 at 9:01 am #

    i really hope salmons just hasnt been on point these last few games. have some serious expectations on this guy…

    …fully expected the bulls to get tested this early…obviously first three games aren’t going to be pushovers (aint talkin detroit with memp./okc in their first three games) but I expected to see a rep of what we ehave for the first three tough opponents. didn’t think they’d grab both of the first two wins so splitting Boston and SA is big, Miami can be more than manageable if you contain Wade. I dunno, last game aside, Bulls are going to manage this year.

    Kris November 1, 2009 at 3:47 pm #

    Salmons can have bad games. It’s not optimism, it’s a bad streak, he will break out of it in the next 2 games, guaranteed, and Ben Gordon with continue to participate in his team’s loss by having the second lowest +/- on the Pistons.

  4. LL-Smokes-Jays November 1, 2009 at 5:12 pm #

    The Celtics game shouldn’t outshine the Spurs game. If you ask me it doesn’t mean the Bulls are bad, but the Celtics are scary.


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