Wrangled: Mavericks 122, Bulls 116

The Bulls defense has been pretty hard to watch lately.

The Bulls' defense has been pretty hard to watch lately.


…the Bulls aren’t playing any.

Okay, maybe that statement is¬†a bit on the harsh side, but it’s not too far off the mark. The Bulls have now given up 100 or more¬†points in 10 of their last 13 games. In fact, here’s a rundown of the points they’ve¬†allowed during that stretch: 101, 107, 85, 109, 94, 90, 101, 110, 111, 100, 116, 105 and 122.

See the trend?

And it’s not like every one of those games was against a championship contender. The teams that have notched at least 100 points against the Bulls include the lottery-bound¬†Knicks, Pacers (three times!) and Wizards.

Can I get a hand in the face? Anyone…? Anyone…? Bueller…?

Mind you, the Bulls have been a top 10 defensive team for most of the season. In fact, they’re currently ranked 8th overall in Defensive Efficiency. As Tom Haberstroh of Hardwood Paroxysm put it, the Bulls don’t foul and they protect the rim. But that defense has been conspicuously absent over the last few weeks.

It’s not a crazy random happenstance either.

The Bulls traded their best defender (by the numbers) to the Charlotte Bobcats. Their second-best defender is out indefinitely with plantar fasciitis. Their other top defenders include Taj Gibson (a rookie who also has plantar fasciitis), Luol Deng (gimpy left knee) and Kirk Hinrich (gimpy right ankle).

Chicago’s success this season — however limited — has been due primarily to their defense. Well, that and Derrick Rose, who has been dealing with some gimpy knee issues of his own lately. Rose didn’t look gimpy against the Mavs. He finished with a game-high 34 points on 15-for-22 shooting to go along with 8 assists. The defense…well…that’s another matter entirely.

Dallas shot better than 56 percent¬†as a team¬†and hit just over 40 percent of their three-pointers. They also racked up 31 assists on 49 field goals. And since I mentioned all of Chicago’s potential excuses, I should probably mention that the Mavs were missing starting center Brendan Haywood (lower back tightness), backup center Erick Dampier (right middle finger surgery), sixth man Jason Terry (left orbital bone surgery) and Tim Thomas (personal reasons). Plus they played at home against the Kings on Friday night and Dirk Nowitzki has been bothered by a sore left hip.

In light of all that, the Bulls’ excuses feel a little hollow.

Due to all the missing bodies, Dallas rookie¬†Rodrigue Beaubois — I know you’re probably thinking “who?!” — was press-ganged into action and responded with a career-high 24 points on 10-for-17 shooting. Then, in the fourth quarter, Nowitzki finished what Beaubois started. Dirk scored 13 points in the final 12 mintes, shutting down Chicago’s rally in the process.

Said Hinrich: “We just couldn’t stop them at the other end.”

Shooting 52+ percent and scoring 116 points usually leads to victory. But the Bulls were only clicking on the offensive end. On top of that, they’re facing a serious talent deficit. Even with all their injuries, the Mavericks can still field a team that includes Nowitzki (a former MVP), Jason Kidd (one of the all-time greats), Caron Butler (a proven 20-point scorer) and Shawn Marion (a do-everything player at both ends). That certainly trumps Chicago’s current top four of Rose, Deng, Gibson and, well, whoever else you want to name. Hinrich? Brad Miller? Jannero Pargo?

The Bulls are not good enough without Joakim Noah. Not defensively, not offensively, not in any way. Even with him, they’re merely above average.

To make matters worse, the Charlotte Bobcats and Milwaukee Bucks — who got Tyrus Thomas and John Salmons in Chicago’s “Salary Dump Sweepstakes” — have been on fire. The Bobcats beat the defending champion Lakers on Friday night, while the Bucks defeated the league-leading Cavaliers on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the Bulls are playing well in stretches. But ultimately, they can’t hang with the good teams for 48 minutes.

Said¬†Rose: “”The team needs to find a way to win games. It is frustrating.”

Yes it is. Very.

The Bulls (31-31) have lost four games in a row and are now eighth in the Eastern Conference standings. And the Bobcats (30-31) is nipping at their heels. All the team can do is play and hope to get through this rough¬†patch — they are three games into a nine-game stretch against division leaders and¬†potential playoff teams — without falling out of the competition for a spot in the postseason.

But right now…things look pretty grim.

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


28 Responses to Wrangled: Mavericks 122, Bulls 116

  1. tester123xyz@hotmail.com'
    bobbysimmons March 7, 2010 at 8:13 am #

    Garpax had a great idea, rid your team of a “toxic” player and another who didn’t fit into the system and easily cruise you way to a playoff spot. Unfortunately so far it has all blown up in our faces! Doesn’t Garpax know you don’t trade players to the teams you are competing against for playoff spots?! Where are all the Warrick/Murray lovers now? I have to ask again, is it still worth trading Thomas now for the James Johnson of two, three years down the line? The Bulls knew that Noah and Gibson were having foot problems, but that didn’t stop them from trading away as Matt puts it “their best defender (by the numbers).”

    I’ll be honest and come out and say it, THE BULLS WILL NOT MAKE THE PLAYOFFS THIS YEAR! I know, I know, this year means nothing, we’ve done this to prepare for next season, but even knowing that doesn’t lighten the colossal disappointment of missing the playoffs this year, it would actually qualify as a disaster. Reinsdorf will be beside himself, I know it, he’s the guy who put a 50 win goal on a team with the likes of BG, Nocioni, and Hinrich. And like I said before it won’t make attracting FAs any easier. Shame on Garpax, shame, shame.

    On a more optimistic note, Rose is still an animal.

  2. gobulls76@hotmail.com'
    mike March 7, 2010 at 1:31 pm #

    hey bobbysimmons dont make it sound like its only garpax. its not reinsdorf is an ass hole him self did you forget what he said. he would trade all 6 bulls tittles for 1 world seiries tittle for his white sox. he dont care about the bulls he just wants to make the playoffs to get more money. to dump it into the white sox the bulls are his cash cow and as long as he puts these avrg teams out there and we fill the seats thats all he care about. we as fans need to stop showing up for games to teach him that bulls fans have had enough.i would not be surprised at all if we dont get any big free agents to come here. in fact we have herd this before when grant hill was a free agent. that same year there where alot off free agents too. and we got eddie robinson and ron mercer. those where the BIG FREE AGENTS WE GOT THAT YEAR and if you remember correctly we heard the same crap that year that they were going to get a big name player and they got mercer and robinson? dont be surprised if our off season big aquisitions are like a ray allen who is all done or mcgrady who has nothing left so weve heard all these promises before and this front office does not deliver reinsdorf is an ass he should sell the bulls to someone who cares about basketball and go be with his freakin white sox.

  3. inkybreath@gmail.com'
    inkybreath March 7, 2010 at 2:37 pm #

    To my eyes, the team has played hard. I have defended Vinnie at time for the degree of some claims, but this stretch has shown his limits in design, game management and personnel use.

    Yes, Jannero has good NBA experience, but there have been too many times to count where we simply needed a bigger body on the court and that body is James Johnson. This is a learn-on-the-fly moment for him and Vinnie is wasting it. JJ has some serious tools and the Bulls need every bit of it. I was shocked when I saw he only played about four minutes last night. He had a good feel in that game and could have drawn some fouls (Did the Mavs even get into the penalty in the 4th Q?) and provided a good-sized help defender. His lone block was a tiny, but notable momentum shift. Am I crazy here?

  4. owill75@yahoo.com'
    dolo March 7, 2010 at 2:56 pm #

    I think it’s fairly clear now that we are NOT a better team without Tyrus and Salmons. I established my disdain for all the “trade Tyrus” talk early, and my visions are swiftly becoming irritatingly and painfully true. To break a wild horse, you have to ride him! The only way to solve his conundrum is with CONSISTENT minutes. I told you people! but NOOOO… you drank the TyTom Haterade and followed the cows. Congrats dummies. You got what you wanted.
    At the beginning of this year I identified our two unknowns or, X-factors for the success of this year’s Bulls to be Luol Deng’s health and consistency and our management of Mr Tyrus Thomas. Luol, for the most part, has been solid and, at times, has looked curiously unstoppable. If his knee can hold up (insert prayer here)… x-factor #1: check. While Tyrus has been well… Tyrus-like. Impactful flashes of uber-athletic brilliance on both ends of the court, spliced in with some madening mistakes and over-used, but often surprisingly accurate jumpshots. That’s Tyrus. Have you met? Our challenge was to maximize the effectiveness of such a force of b-ball nature to best help our team. Tyrus needed two things to play that key role for us:
    1. Room to correct his mistakes in the form of consistent minutes.
    2. And, like everyone, to feel wanted and appreciated.
    I think it’s safe to say we blew x-factor #2. Looks like MJ and Larry Brown did the math on that one though. Question: Am I the only Bull’s fan who checks Tyrus’ stat line nightly and can’t look at anything Warrick does without thinking “Tyrus would of…”, is that just me?
    Anyway, water under the bridge, right? The question is, with Noah injured and things looking desperate, “what now?” Is there anyone other than the overmatched Chris Richard that can supply some of that defensive presence, energy and excitement only Tyrus or Noah can? I think we may not have to look far for an answer. Think back to the description I gave of Tyrus earlier. Can you think of anyone else who resembles those remarks? No, not the elusive Omer Asik. Lady’s and gentlemen, I’d like to introduce our new TyTom… put your hands together for, drumroll please… James Johnson!!! Flashes: yes, Athletic: yes, Sometimes madnening: check. He has not only become our new x-factor. He just might be, gulp, our last hope to salvage anything out of the rest of this season. Cut him loose Vinnie. Throw him in the water. Play him early and often. Intensify the development of this young talent. Put him on the accelerated plan like you did Rose, Noah, and Taj. Do what you wouldn’t do for Tyrus… trust him. Afterall, what do we have to lose at this point?

  5. bscholtens@hotmail.com'
    Brad S. March 7, 2010 at 5:59 pm #

    Ok, ok, everybody just calm down.

    Look, we all know why the bull’s are struggling. (Hint: it has to do with a large, goofy, seersucker-wearing loveable dork that patrols the middle for the floor for the bulls. Or more specifically, the lack of his presence.) Would Tyrus or John have made the difference in these last couple of games? We could argue that. But would you trade those games for a shot at any of the major free agents this year? I wouldn’t. And lets not forget that 2010 is not the only year that financial flexibility could be a help. There will be good free agents in every following year as well. Until you are a real contender, teams must preserve their chance to make moves. Were the Bulls going to win it all this year with Ty and John? No. Are the Bulls going to after the trades? No. So what’s the difference?

    That said, I completely agree on the James Johnson stuff.

  6. loco878@yahoo.com'
    kola March 7, 2010 at 6:16 pm #

    I don’t know how people are correlating the Bobcats win streak to Tyrus being the key guy. Sure since he came when they just started winning, but looking at his averages when he just came to the team and its still about the same as when he was with the Bulls. He is still averaging around 25 minutes and averaging 10 points and 7 and a half rebounds. This is relatively close to the amount the averages he made with the Bulls as well. Also, looking at his +/-, it shows that he has not really helped them win any games either. So the theory of Bobcats winning= Tyrus is a success is just absolutely false, he still is a guy filled with potential but doesn’t know how to use it.

  7. tester123xyz@hotmail.com'
    bobbysimmons March 7, 2010 at 8:23 pm #

    lol dolo, i like the sarcastic tone. As for Brad what you say makes sense except for the fact that trading Ty Thomas had no effect on our ability to offer the max to a FA. He was a restricted FA, thus we were under no obligation to pay him next season. Any way that you try to spin it, not making the playoffs this year will be very embarrassing.

  8. inkybreath@gmail.com'
    inkybreath March 7, 2010 at 9:50 pm #

    agreed that missing playoffs would be a serious let-down …

  9. chad March 7, 2010 at 10:26 pm #

    as bobbysimmons said, trading tyrus did not help us save money for free agency. it just made us bad enough to not make the playoffs and make no free agents want to join such a bad team. all they had to do was keep tyrus, and then in the summer they could see whether they can afford to bring him back after all the good free agents have been signed by someone. then if they can’t afford him, let him go. but we let him go early instead, even though all our other big guys were somewhat injured, so this season is over. where’s the guys now who are telling me to go marry tyrus cause he’s my mancrush who is not worth a thing. looks like the people who want tyrus back now outnumber the people who are saying “glad to get rid of tyrus, Flip and Warrick are better.” numbers don’t lie, tyrus was a good defender, bulls defense allows over 100 points everyday now, after they werent before. tyrus gets a double double almost every game and is averaging 2 turnovers per game, hardly any more than warrick, murray, noah, gibson, and miller make. salmons aint bad either. milwaukee #5 seed, charlotte on their way to the #6 or #7 seed with the bulls very soon to be out of the top 8.

  10. gobulls76@hotmail.com'
    bullsfan76 March 7, 2010 at 10:28 pm #

    brad they have had 10 years to get big free agents have they gotton any . no and they wont because players remember what this team did to jordan and pippen.thats why nobody wants to come here

  11. nikhilmbhatia@gmail.com'
    Nikhil March 7, 2010 at 10:59 pm #

    While I do not think it is very likely that the Bulls will make the playoffs, I do have to disagree with your assessment that Charlotte has been “on fire” since the trades. They are 4-5 since acquiring Tyrus Thomas. Its not like they are going to run away and hide with that last spot. Keep an eye on Toronto too, who has not been playing well at all recently and lost to Philly at home today.

  12. gregkubly@gmail.com'
    Greg March 8, 2010 at 2:43 pm #

    Amazing huh. You lose a guy who is the best “statistical” defender on the team and suddenly the team is giving up 100+ a night.

    I seem to remember this happening before… say in December when we were getting the doors blown off us every single night and Ty was out. Of course it’s not all attributable to Ty as depth has played a key roll in each bad streak, but as they say. The numbers don’t lie.

    Read over weekend that the Bulls D has been so good because they don’t foul and they protect the rim. With Ty and Noah gone we’re left with: a corpse who knows how to play, a 6’9″ Center who can’t jump, and an extremely promising rookie who needs 15 more pounds of muscle to effectively guard the post. Oh and I forgot, that guy we picked up who’s exactly the same thing we gave up…except for the blocks, steals, man D, defensive rebounding.

    Yep, now how exactly are we supposed to protect the rim?

  13. gobulls76@hotmail.com'
    bullsfan76 March 8, 2010 at 3:36 pm #

    chad chad tt was not going to play the way he is playing on his new team here ha was not happy he wanted out…. get over your self if noah was healthy we would be playing better…. deng is banged up rose is banged up plus look at the teams we are playing do you realy think tt would have made that much off a diff… you should be a bobcats fan now go away

  14. chad March 8, 2010 at 3:39 pm #

    only reason bobcats are not winning more than they are is they don’t have a star like rose

  15. gobulls76@hotmail.com'
    bullsfan76 March 8, 2010 at 3:40 pm #

    ohh by the way chad tt had his best year as a pro last season. we had him all year and noah we gave up allmost 103 ppg last year with your boy…… please go away yes go marry tt……….

  16. gobulls76@hotmail.com'
    bullsfan76 March 8, 2010 at 3:41 pm #

    numbers dont lie your words………

  17. chad March 8, 2010 at 4:16 pm #

    103 ppg last year was obviously because Ben Gordon was on our team and Del Negro was not emphasizing defense.

  18. gobulls76@hotmail.com'
    bullsfan76 March 8, 2010 at 4:28 pm #

    what ? oh my god come on stop making excuses… why is tt playing better with the bobcats because he is playing inside i have watched some off the games. and he is not jacking up 20 foot jumpers because coach brown prob pulled him aside and told him. you jack up shots that you know you cant make we will put your ass on the bench… the bigest diff between noah and tt is noah nows what his limits are offencivly are.tt was throwing up shots like he was kg.

  19. gobulls76@hotmail.com'
    bullsfan76 March 8, 2010 at 5:22 pm #

    ohh chad and to add to your numbers dont lie. everybody and there mother like to blame bg for bad d. well wasnt bg here the years we won 49 and 47 games? yep and both those years we gave up less than 94 ppg… the diff was coaching we had skilles as our coach so dont give me that crap that it was bg falt…. plus the bobcats are 4 and 5 since the trade thats not that good either lets just see what happens shall we.

  20. Ryan March 8, 2010 at 6:25 pm #

    I guess it is time to throw in the towel? The seasons over, Fire VDN, trading Tyrus and Salmons was a mistake, a top FA will never come here… is this a Celtics blog?
    My non-expert analysis says the Bulls are young and hurt, but will bounce back to get a 6-7 seed. VDN needs to keep working on getting better the next 20 games. Thomas and Salmons are gone to dump salary for next year – Tyrus and the Bulls were not working out for each other (there is no fault of either party – bad development by the Bulls and a lack of caring/focus for Tyrus). Worry about Free Agents after the playoffs – they won’t talk anyways. Instead of a Fire Sale, how about some support. The schedule is very rough on the Bulls right now, but it gets easier at the end of March into April. Hopefully, Noah can make it back for a nice run at the end of the regular season and we can have a “full” healthy roster to compete with come playoff time.

  21. Ryan March 8, 2010 at 6:34 pm #

    On a side note: I don’t expect Lebron to come to Chicago, but people say by changing his number to 6 he is staying in Cleveland. Mainly because you can pick your number if you switch teams, but have to submit the new number to the league if you change it for an existing team. I just ventured that maybe it is because he can’t use 23 when he comes to Chicago? I highly doubt anything like that, but it is feasible? Right?

  22. chad March 8, 2010 at 7:06 pm #

    maybe del negro should have told him to play inside instead of shooting 20 footers, but no he told tyrus that his job was to hit open jump shots. so he stood around the perimeter all the time like an idiot and shot jumpers and missed them and went to the bench for it. he could have been a solid center or power forward for the bulls if del negro told him to stay in and around the lane like larry brown has told him.

  23. bob.edwards47@yahoo.com'
    Boppinbob March 8, 2010 at 7:29 pm #

    TT has nothing to do with this losing stretch. The problem is primarily due to the injury to Noah, and the other assorted injuries to just about everybody else that gets a majority of playing time. TT is not a Bull anymore. Dwelling on him is a waste of time. Missing NOah is killing the Bulls front line defense. I agree that James Johnson should get more playing time. In fact He should play until he fouls out of a game, in the rotation of course. That is the only way that he is going to develop. I hope that VDN increases JJ’s PT. If everyone was healthy the playoffs would be in reach. We could end up being in the lottery as a result of the Noah injury. I believe that bringing Noah back after three weeks is the wrong thing to do. Shut Noah down for the rest of the season and rest the foot. Review that decision if the Bulls somehow make the playoffs.

  24. Ryan March 8, 2010 at 8:21 pm #


    I would prefer to shut Noah down for the season, but many people (including me), think that we will need to make it to the playoffs and get a good seed for Wade or other FA’s to consider Chicago. This is a risk either way. 1. You risk Noah injuring himself worse and 2. you risk getting stuck with Free Agent scraps because your team is not competitive. All in all, I think Chicago is the best place to go for a top FA. We have Rose, some great role players (Deng, Taj, maybe Hinrich and Noah), and a real core of young talent. I wish a playoff seed wouldn’t matter, but after the seaon is over – the Playoffs will be the last thing these FA’s will see (sorry New Jersey. *Remember when they were a place to consider early in the year).

  25. chad March 8, 2010 at 8:31 pm #

    we do need a lottery pick, hopefully someone who will get more playing time than JJ

  26. cthomop@hotmail.com'
    mop March 8, 2010 at 10:20 pm #

    I remember earlier in the season I posted my only comment, It said something about how I used to drive myself crazy with watching an entire Bulls season unfold (post ’98).. I watched a little bit of Saturdays game as I was having dinner, and I still hold true to not supporting this team until they prove something to me. Like many of you point out, The Owner doesn’t care about this team, as long as fans support. Which kind of reminds me of another lousy franchise in Chicago.. Starts with a ‘C’ … Ends with a ‘S’.. I used to be a die hard “C**S” fan, I now hate that team, and its fans. They have no respect and no idea why they actually go to the games.. To watch losers??? I hope they put together a real team next year…

  27. gobulls76@hotmail.com'
    bullsfan76 March 8, 2010 at 10:43 pm #

    is that so chad you where there to here him say that? dude come on stop it already the way he was playing here he would not have made a diff at all….. noah is being missed not tt………

  28. inkybreath@gmail.com'
    inkybreath March 10, 2010 at 12:19 am #

    To me, the x-factor that made the Tyrus trade happen did not have to do with the money. It comes down to saving spots on your team for a player. If he was still on the team next year, it would have made it more difficult to figure out how to fill out the team for the near future, simply because of the uncertainty around him and his role on this team. The blame is unnecessary at this point, both Tyrus and the management had their opportunities and they wasted them, especially in direct relation to each other. And, am I mistaken, do we not have 9 unrestricted free agents? Wow, this is a strange opportunity to build a team like they are playing GM-mode on NBA2010Live. Honestly, we all put a lot of time and attention, even after the game is over. I think it is up to us to put the pressure on the big offices for this team. I don’t feel the same as ‘mop’, but there is not much I can say to dissuade him (and I won’t) as the product has been completely uneven and without design for too long. They have advertised their plan and we need to keep them to their word, as if this fails, they have truly failed and this team, market and talent allow them for nothing in the way of spins or excuses.

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