If you are an avid Bulls fan and watch every game they play, then you know that this team is all about defense. Well tonight, for the first time in a very long time, the Bulls D was not up-to-par as Thibs would have liked tonight. Seldom do the Bulls give up 100 points to the opposition. So seldom in fact that it was the first time since LAST EASTER (April 8th) in an overtime loss to the New York Knicks was the last time the Bulls let up more than the century mark. Even more ironic, is that in both games, the Bulls inability to hit free throws down the stretch plagued them and led to the eventual loss in each game.
Rondo shredded the Bulls with 20 points 8 boards and 8 assists, Garnett and Bass added 15 and 14 respectively as the C’s squeaked out a win in Chicago. Deng kept up his superb play with 24 points and 11 rebounds, while Noah added 17 points and…11 assists? With Kirk out with a reported strained hip, someone had to distribute and Nate Robinson did not do the greatest job of doing that. Bulls looked out of rhythm offensively all night as the C’s strong D seemed to do just enough for three-quarters until the Bulls showed some fight and came back in the 4th. With 19 year-old Marquis Teague as the point guard the Bulls rallied but came up short in the end as again the Bulls struggled hitting the free ones.
The bright spot and most positive thing coming out of this game besides Noah and Deng’s exceptional play once again, is the young buck rook Teague. Many thought he was too immature physically and mentally to play at the NBA level and thought that staying another year would improve his game and draft stock. But regardless Teague was drafted by the Bulls and under Thibs, rookies don’t usually get all that much playing time. (ask Jimmy Butler) But with Hinrich out and Robinson not playing his best right now Thibs gave Teague the nod and at times he showed flashes of his potential. His lightning quick moves to the basket stood out most as he blew past Rondo a couple of times to get to the rim whether he was fouled and went to the line or made the basket. Still an undeveloped shooter, the Bulls could be looking at a reliable threat in the future that can get to the basket like Rose. Teague and Rose both driving to the lane? Now that is something to ponder. Speaking of Rose, today he did marginal cutting since his surgery now exactly 7 months ago today. Still no time-table on his return.
Bulls start their circus road trip with Phoenix, a game the Bulls should win.
Goat prediction: Bulls 91-84