The AP game notes pretty much said it all: Utah’s 132 points, 34 assists and 3-point percentage (.600) were season-highs for a Bulls opponent. Except for one dunk — more on that below — the Jazz didn’t do anything spectacular. They simply fought, hustled and executed the Bulls to death.
And just like that, Chicago has fallen out of the top 10 in Defensive Efficiency. They also tied a rather ominous season high with their fifth straight loss, falling a game below .500 in the process (31-32).
One of the most disappointing aspects of this particular loss is how well the Bulls executed on offense. Mind you, the Jazz are currently ranked 9th in Defensive Efficiency, yet the Bulls shot 54 percent from the field, better than 53 percent in threes (8-for-15), and racked up 20 fast break points. And then they lost by 24. At home.
The Bulls really might as well have put a welcome mat in the paint. That’s how easy a time the Jazz had in there. Utah got 21 layups and two dunks, including one in which Deron Williams posterized Derrick Rose. What’s more, the Jazz dominated the glass (42-32). That total included a 14-6 edge in offensive rebounds. And did I mention Utah earned 39 free throw attempts? Oh, and they scored 24 points off 16 Chicago turnovers.
So, basically, the Jazz either hit the shot, earned a second chance, got fouled, or got the ball right back. There quite literally was no stopping them last night. And let me tell you, several of those free throw were the result of fouls right at the bucket. There was no keeping the Jazz away from the rim…and collapsing on them was just as bad, considering they went 12-for-20 from beyond the arc, including 6-for-7 by C.J. Miles and 2-for-2 from Wesley Matthews.
The absence of Joakim Noah is killing the Bulls.
Brad Miller is a fantastic offensive center. (Most of the time, anyway.) Last night, he scored 20 points on 6-for-9 shooting, including 3-for-3 from downtown. Miller even added 3 assists for good measure. But he had only 4 rebounds in 33 minutes. Utah’s Paul Millsap logged 32 minutes and finished with 9 boards, including 6 on the offensive end. His impact was huge.
The Bulls needed somebody like that. A physical player who could bring some much-needed energy and grit off the bench. A lot of people were hoping Chris Richard could be that guy. Unfortunately, Richard was pretty ineffective, finishing with 2 rebounds and 5 fouls in 17 minutes. Nice guy. Hard worker. But I guess he spent much of this season in the NBA Developmental League for a reason.
Maybe that guy could have been James Johnson. After all, JJ chipped in 7 points (3-for-5) and 4 rebounds in only 11 minutes of PT. Plus, the Bulls had exactly 1 blocked shot on the night…and Johnson was responsible for it. Yeah, he bricked a couple free throws, but why not give Johnson a shot? Vinny Del Negro needs to unleash this kid. Tell him to go out, get rough, and just bang bodies in the paint. What do we have to lose at this point?
Let’s not forget, Deron Williams was awesome. Williams had game highs in points (28) and assists (17) while shooting 11-for-15 from the field and 3-for-5 in threes. Derrick Rose couldn’t stop him. Kirk Hinrich couldn’t stop him. Williams dominated the game. Controlled it. Owned it. Forget the stats. Williams put on a virtuoso performance. Maybe it was his Booms Beard Lite. But it says something about him that he could so vastly outplay a fellow All-Star like Rose, who had a pretty good game himself (25 points, 13 assists, 4 rebounds).
Said Rose: “He’s always someone I looked up to and I thought he played real well tonight.”
Yeah. You could say that.
Carlos Boozer — the soon-to-be-a-free-agent big man who might be on Chicago’s offseason radar — had a double-double (16 points, 10 rebounds) plus 5 assists, but he got caught up in the Deron and Derrick Show.
Said Boozer: “That was a helluva matchup. Did you have fun watching that? Because I did. You got to incredible point guards pushing the ball,” Boozer said. “That was one helluva matchup we just watched out there. A great game to watch. I’m going to get that tape and review myself. Those two guys, man … they kept pushing the ball, so everybody kept running. It was a great game.”
Not for the Bulls. No loss is great, and this one carried more weight than most. As you can see from the season standings, Chicago now ranks ninth in the Eastern Conference. If the playoffs started today, the Bulls would be on the outside looking in. Man, a few weeks ago it looked like Chicago had a realistic chance at the fifth or sixth seed. Now it looks like they have a realistic shot at the NBA Draft Lottery.
As if things aren’t bad enough — remember, the Bulls have lost a season-high five games, including the last four at home — next up is a four-game road swing through Orlando, Miami, Memphis and Dallas. Then the Bulls get to come home for a game against the Cavaliers.
I’m really dreading the next week and a half.
Recap, Box Score, Advanced Box Score, Play-By-Play, Shot Chart, Photos
D-Will is unbelievable. Rose is still more explosive, but D-Will uses his size to his advantage. D-Will should be the MVP of the second half…
When it’s bad, it’s really bad for the Bulls. Fortunately, if we’re playing all these teams now, that means we’re not playing them later near the end of the year. After this horrific stretch we have Philly, Houston, Miami, New Jersey, Detroit, and Pheonix. Three of those (should be) easy wins, and the Miami and Houston games are certainly winnable as well.
Can I add that I really don’t like how the Bulls are entirely reliant on two guys? What happens if DRose goes down? Do we just throw in the towel at that point? Kobe went down, and the Lakers got BETTER. In the Scott Skiles era, we had depth and it felt like no matter who went down, we’d be all right. Now we lose Jo and the whole thing has gone to sh*t.
when people say that coaches arent vital to a teams success, i say look at jerry sloan. the offense this guy runs allows D will to go apeshit alldaylong! the numerous pick n rolls, the flex/motion offense its something to watch i can tell ya that much. and then to look at our offense its simply iso or pick n roll. sighs
this is gonna be a bad stretch. we may lose 10 n a row
Unfortunately I was at this game. Things were looking up as Rose had a double-double going into the second half. During the second half, as Matt mentioned, we might as well have been playing with 3 players on defense as it would have made no difference. As for the Bulls, another failure of management is not getting new halftime acts. How many times have I seen Duo Design or the Argentine brothers flipping each other by their asses?
bobbysimmons — I was gonna leave this one alone, but…
…I was also at the game. Let me take you back several years. My best friend, who has always loved the Jazz, was visiting from out of town and we went to the Jazz-Bulls game. This was around 2001 I think. Anyway, we were “treated” to Duo Design. Here’s what I wrote about the experience on Basketbawful:
So we haven’t hung much in the two years he’s been living in Scranton, PA, but he’s in town for a conference, so we hit the game. He told me ahead of time I needed to check the halftime show to make sure Duo Design wouldn’t be there. I laughed. What were the chances, right?
Two minutes before halftime, the Jumbotron flashes: “Halftime show: Duo Design!”
what about the 7?2 center overseas. I heard he was suppose to be in Chicago for training camp. Saw some highlights from him…doesn’t look like much of a outside-the-post player but he looks like he can defend the bucket and score under the basket….If we can land a wade or j johnson and keep the team we have (rose noah jj gibson continue to develop) along with this 7?2 guy, murray,warrick, alexander,hinrich,and miller on the bench we can be very competitive next year.
Given how porous the Bulls’ defense is at this time, I wonder why they don’t try playing zone more often? What’s to lose?
Matt I like the description on basketbawful, sorry you and I had to sit through that more than once, I should’ve gotten up and walked around. Like you I’d prefer the Loveables which have improved (in the face) over the past several years. Also I’m always amazed how grown men will jump up and down screaming at the top of their lungs for a T-shirt that’s worth about $0.50. I get excited sometimes, you know for Big Macs, but I suspect that some people thick the FAN-O-METER is legit, or that by cheering and yelling Cuppy Coffee will actually be motivated to run faster.
I did the responsible thing at halftime: hit the bathroom and grab a hot dog (major pause). I have to give the UC credit for bringing in the Vienna Beef jumbo dogs. They’re way better than that shitty pizza.
common bobby, don’t hate on the dunkin donuts race….
As I said the other day, it is time for JJ (Johnson) to get major playing time for experience sake. He should be put in the rotation and played until he fouls out. It would speed up his learning curve and give fans and management an idea of how quickly he learns and develops. Let Richards collect splinters. We have now learned just how valuable Noah is. His rebounding, defense and offense all help round out the Bulls. With the exception of Bosh I could care less about the “elite” free agents. The Bulls need a power forward, another center and a third guard for their rotation. All need to be strong “team defense” contributors and none needs to be an “elite” FA. This could be accomplished in the FA seasons of 2010 and 2011 and through the draft. If the Bulls are smart they will sit Noah until next season. Yes, we will be a lottery team. But FA’s have seen what the core of the Bulls can do when healthy. No one expected to be devastated by injuries but we have been. The entire core seems to be walking wounded.
My side hurts a bit after reading your post. I have been a lifetime Bulls fan, and got a chance to attend my first live game against the Nets at the end of last year. Apparently, Duo Design was not there – I would have remembered that. There was a very brief clip of them on Comcast that night though, and I believe they were on America’s Got Talent recently? It is still uncalled for.
The reason for my side pains was that I was one of the D-bags screaming for a Cup of Coffee to win or for the Fan-O-Meter to bust through the side of the Jumbo-tron. In hindsight I see the Fan-O-Meter display on the TV games doing the same reading. My 3 year old son was with me, so I can save a small bit of face – but I was hoping that there weren’t ‘regular’ fans watching me scream at an automated meter.
Has anyone heard an interview with Vinnie, where he explains why he is not playing JJ more? This is getting dangerous, in my opinion. We are going to lose this kid. How much does it hurt him to see this team NEED him on the court so badly, watching wounded soldiers go down, one by one, and still just get in for 5 – 15 minutes? Jannero has played much worse with what he has been given (and JJ has a strong three-point jumper!).