The stats that are killing me the most

The Bulls defended the paint and forced the Heat to beat them from the outside.

And it worked.

For the Heat, I mean. It backfired big time for the Bulls.

According to Hoopdata, Chicago held Miami to 10-for-23 shooting at the rim. That’s a conversion rate of only 43.5 percent for a team with two of the best finishers in the game. Dwyane Wade, in particular, was a dismal 3-for-8.

However, the Heat went 16-for-32 from 16-23 feet. That’s the worst shot in basketball, but the Miami players knocked it down again and again. LeBron James was only 6-for-15 from that zone, but Chris Bosh went 5-for-8, Wade was 2-for-4, Mike Miller shot 2-for-2 and even Mike Bibby’s corpse went 1-for-2.

NBA teams want to force their opponents to shoot contested jumpers from 16-23 feet. Except for blocked shots or forced turnovers, that’s the best possible result you can ask for from a defense.

Unfortunately, it didn’t work for the Bulls last night.

The Bulls were much more effective at the rim than in the previous games in this series — they went 17-for-26 (65.4 percent) — but their aggressiveness didn’t earn them any love from the officials. Chicago’s free throw rate (25.3) was half of what Miami finished with (50.7).

That free throw rate is amazing. For comparison, Denver led the league this season at 36.7 percent.

The other killing stat was Chicago’s 6-for-24 brick-a-palooza from beyond the arc. Kyle Korver, the team’s three-point specialist, was 0-for-3. Derrick Rose was a vomit-inducing 1-for-9. Admittedly, two of those nine attempts were desperation shots, but still.

Several of those threes were wide open, by the way.

The Bulls are a few more made threes away from being nearly unstoppable. Just look at what happened when they went 10-for-21 in Game 1. Unfortunately, Korver is their only high percentage three-point threat, and he’s usually either chained to the bench due to defensive inadequacies or bogged down by a simplistic offense that doesn’t generate many open looks for him.

I understand the season isn’t (technically) over yet, but when it is, I sincerely hope the coaching staff spends significant time establishing a better offensive system for this team.

Update! You know what else was killer? The uncalled traveling violation on LeBron’s clutch jumper in OT. Great players don’t need extra steps to hit clutch shots, but it sure helps.

11 Responses to The stats that are killing me the most

  1. Inception May 25, 2011 at 4:03 pm #

    Amen to that…..the offensive system is severely lacking….Thibs needs improvement in that area, and I’m not willing to blame him just yet, since he’s just a rookie head coach.

    Matt – what do you think of CHI bringing in an assistant that can specialize in offense?….sort of like an offensive version of Thibs when he was in boston.

    BULL4EVER May 25, 2011 at 4:24 pm #

    Rose should have drove to the basket in last night’s game on both accounts when he had 2 shots at evening up this series at 2 games apiece, come on now, this series is becoming more and more disappointing when you lose games that you should be winning.Now we just have to be ready to force a 6th game by taking the next game Thursday night.I know this is a learning experience for Chicago that is not even up to that 90’s greatness yet, but gotta win games that you should be winning. GO BULLS!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Mattzilla May 25, 2011 at 4:48 pm #

    “Several of those threes were wide open, by the way.”

    Amen to that brother. There are three things here that make me REALLY happy about the future:

    1 – The one thing separating this team from greatness is making open shots, plain and simple. We’re supposed to miss some, everybody does. But if we shoot 50% on open jumpers in this series (and playoffs) instead of what seems like 30%, we’ve gotten enough of them from Rose’s offensive presence that we would have maybe lost two games the entire postseason to this point.

    2 – Guess who is the leader of this team? Off the court, the hardest working player in the league, Derrick Rose. You think he’s gonna take less than 1000 jumpers a day over the summer? You think he’ll let his teammates get away with any less? I say NO on both accounts.

    3 – Moving on with the end of point 1, as horrid as the offense has been, we’ve been within 5 with two minute left for almost EVERY loss this postseason. Miami may end up winning it all this year, and despite the offense (it wasn’t all about their defense), they’ve played pretty damn good and we were still right there in every loss. Defense wins championships, and it may not have for us this season, but you better believe it will in the future.

    Mattzilla May 25, 2011 at 4:52 pm #

    Also, like I asked in another thread, are there any stats on open jump shooting percentage? I don’t exactly know how to clarify “open”, but I’m wondering how far off I am with the numbers in the previous post.

    khandor May 25, 2011 at 4:57 pm #

    Unfortunately, because I cannot find a “Contact Us” section on your site, I will need to place this email message here. Please accept my apology, in advance.



    From the perspective of a Bulls fan, can you please tell me what you believe Chicago might actually be prepared to give up in a trade for Andrea Bargnani?

    [see this link for further details: What is Bargnani really worth, on the open market?]




    Please delete this comment after reading it.

    CJ May 25, 2011 at 5:19 pm #

    I can’t blame the refs. Despite the FT disparity and the uncalled travels, they still gift-wrapped the game for the Bulls with that charge on LeBron.

    For Bulls fans saving a glimmer of hope, regression to the mean is your friend. The Heat have shot >50% on contested long 2’s in the last two games. If that goes down, and Korver’s slump levels out, we might see Miami crying again. It’s mostly a fantasy, but I’ll allow myself to indulge until MIA has 4 in the win column.

    So next year: Shannon Brown? Caron Butler? JR Smith? Take another shot at trading for Courtney Lee?

  7. Inception May 25, 2011 at 5:35 pm #

    Shannon Brown – maybe….a winner who’s played with the best…i’ll take that, but his asking price may be too much.

    Caron Butler – can’t trust his health…..pass

    JR Smith – headache and inconsistent…pass

    Courntey Lee – consolation prize

    i say go for Mayo and hope Grizz mgmt doesn’t c***block.

    CJ May 25, 2011 at 6:15 pm #

    I didn’t include Mayo because I don’t think the Grizz will deal with us.

    Also, I didn’t watch anybody but the Bulls this year, but statistically, out of Brown, Lee, Mayo, and Smith, Mayo has the worst FG%, EFG%, TS%, WS, and is tied with Lee for the lowest PER (12.6). Smith is by far the best statiscally, but I have heard that he’s a head case.

    I’m really worried about the ability to get Rose some help. I don’t want to go through what Cleveland did in 2 years.

    inkybreath May 25, 2011 at 6:17 pm #

    Courtney Lee has enough upside for me.

    Mayo may have upped his stock too much for us to afford him, in the end.

    Lee can shoot, rock the rim on occasion and defend enough to start for us.

  10. Inception May 25, 2011 at 8:36 pm #

    well, it’s a given Brewer or Bogans will be outta CHI by next season or the trade deadline.

    Getting Lee would be an upgrade over either one, but is it enough to win a title?…i’m not so sure.

  11. Dan May 26, 2011 at 2:29 am #

    Part of the reason that the Heat shot so well on long jumper was that the Bulls were packing the paint so much that they left people open. If they stop doing that then the Heat will do better at the rim. So, it is a pick your poison game.

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