Warriors-Bulls Preview

2010-2011 Warriors Status Check:
Record: 36-46 (3rd in Pacific Division)
Division: 5-11
Conference: 21-31
Home Record: 26-15
Last Game: 105-86 loss to the Clippers
PPG: 103.4 (7th)
Opponents PPG: 105.7 (27th)
Offensive Rating: 108.2 (12th)
Defensive Rating: 110.7 (26th)
Pace: 94.8 (5th)
Effective Field Goal Percentage: .510 (9th)
Turnover Percentage: .133 (14th)
Defensive Rebound Percentage: .693 (30th)
Offensive Rebound Percentage: .267 (14th)
Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt: .183 (30th)
Opp. eFG%: .509 (21st)
Opp. TO%: .147 (5th)
Opp. FT/FGA: .259 (29th)
Leading scorer: Monta Ellis (24.1)

Stats from Basketball-Reference.com.

Last night, after the Bulls win, Joakim Noah summed up what a lot of people were thinking: “What a start to the NBA season, huh?” Exactly. The Bulls and Lakers had an extremely exciting game that Chicago pulled out in the last seconds, but that doesn’t mean it was pretty. Let’s take a look at the good, the bad and the ugly.

The good: Chicago got the win, which is all that really counts in the end. Luol Deng down the stretch was spectacular. He had nine points in the fourth (5-5 from the line). He got the steal that led to the go-ahead bucket (despite his near travel) and after that a block on Kobe Bryant to seal the deal.

The Bulls started the fourth quarter by missing 17 of their first 18 shots, but they hit six of seven when it really counted. They also cracked down on the defensive side of the ball, allowing only five points in the last 3:30

Those numbers show that the Bulls took over when it really counted. Derrick started slow, going just 0-1 in the first quarter. He seemed content to get other guys going early, including Joakim Noah who had six early points (Noah finished just 3-12 from the field and only recorded those six points). But Rose finished with 22 points, the two biggest of the game over an outstretched Pau Gasol, and shot 4-6 from downtown.

Eight different players had at least two assists for the Bulls. The only players that didn’t were Kyle Korver and Omer Asik. Which means Korver was almost totally worthless in yesterday’s game.

The bad: Free throws. Chicago got to the line just 14 times in the game overall, making nine of them. The Bulls shot just one free throw between the 11:07 mark of the second quarter and 4:31 left in the fourth quarter. Boozer went to the line four times in the fourth quarter, making just one of them. Luckily the Lakers weren’t practicing their free throws over the offseason either, as Pau Gasol and Josh McRoberts missed four consecutive free throws with less than two minutes to go in the game.

Also the Lakers had just six steals, but Chicago still turned the ball over 14 times. The Bulls had more turnovers (6) in the third quarter than field goals (5).

The ugly: Field goals. At one point Chicago had made just one of their last 23 shots, or four percent (1-23…they would have done better to throw up shots from half court). The Bulls made one field goal and scored two points in an eleven minute stretch (from 2:45 of the third to 3:35 of the fourth, according to ESPN Stats and Info). This comes after they shot 59 percent in the first half. Chicago finished at 40.4 percent for the game.

In the third quarter, the Lakers were 7-11 on field goals in the paint and just 1-10 outside of it.

The Bulls newest addition, Rip Hamilton, got two early fouls, and didn’t do much past that in his 23 minutes. The Masked Man finished with six points and five fouls. At one point I think I almost missed Keith Bogans. Almost.

Chicago now moves on to game number two of four of their west coast trip. The Bulls and Warriors are both on the second night of back-to-backs. The Warriors lost by 19 points to the new-look Clippers late last night. The Bulls were 18-5 last year with no rest, while the Warriors were 7-11. With the shortened season both teams will need to get used to having these short turn-arounds.

To get the win, Chicago will need to stop one of the best scoring backcourts in the league. Monta Ellis scored 24.1 points per game last season (8th in the league) while backcourt mate Stephen Curry added 18.6 (26th). Curry is playing through an injured ankle though, and scored just four points (2-12 shooting) while giving the ball up five times. Ellis didn’t have a great game either, going 6-19 from the field for 15 points (Ellis’ grandmother died earlier Sunday, and he is also midst of a sexual harassment lawsuit.).

As a team the Warriors shot worse than 39 percent from the field last night, and just 23.8 percent from three. But what will upset new coach Mark Jackson most, other than the loss, is that the Warriors gave up 105 points, 64 in the second half. Jackson was brought in to improve that defense, and it will clearly take some time to get them to a respectable level.

Golden State was 27th in opponent’s points per game and 26th in defensive rating last year, while the Bulls were second in opponent points and tied for first in defensive rating (100.3). The Bulls held the Lakers to a 98.9 offensive rating last night.

Chicago and Golden State split their matchups last year, each taking their home game.

In the second matchup, which the Warriors won in ORACLE Arena, Ellis went off for 33 points. The Bulls were without Noah in that matchup, and Rose scored just 14 points on 6-15 shooting, including 0-5 from three. Derrick also had nine turnovers.

Rose was much better in the first matchup, scoring 22 points and adding 13 assists (one of five times last season Rose finished with 13 or more assists).

Stats are fun: “Bulls are [the] sixth team in last 15 seasons to win a season opener when it trailed by as many as ten points in final five minutes of [the] fourth quarter” –ESPN Stats and Info

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