Drink: Gnarly Head Old Vine Zinfandel
This was not one for those artsy-fartsy basketball fans who demand an aesthetically pleasing showing. This was more of one for fans of high school-caliber punk/hardcore bands with shitty amps and worse guitars. Fans of loose balls wet their pants over this 40+ turnover shitshow. This contest featured heapings of inept offense and sloppy seconds. There was even a Vlad Rad appearance – which subsequently led to a bricked desperation three.
In the end, it was what their marketing campaigned promised for this year. This was Chicago Basketball. Without Rose, Chicago Basketball means grinding out games, relying on defense and hustle over talent. The Bulls faced a superior opponent tonight and held with on until the dying seconds. Their focus was on defense – particularly, locking down on Kevin Durant while encouraging Russel Westbrook to settle for outside shots. On the other side, the Bulls were a bit fortunate, as their mid-range jumpers were falling early on. While that was beneficial for this game (Deng dropped 27 points on 11-21 FG), it is worrisome as the Roseless Bulls move on.
In the small sample size that is the first five games of the season, it is becoming consistent for the Bulls to dribble around the arc and then settle for a mid-range jumper. This is not exactly a recipe for success with a well-rounded jump-shooting team. With the Bulls, this is plain ole playing with fire. The problem is that there are not play-makers on this team and Thibs offers little outside of the give-it-to-Rose playbook. This results in Hinrich dribbling around and Noah (that would be the Bulls’ center) acting as a secondary play-maker (he led the team in assists with six). Someone tweeted during the game (sorry, I forgets who) that Boozer should not have the ball in his hands unless he is going to shoot it right away. That led me to think, [deep, echoing voice of my conscious] “Is there anyone on this team who should have the ball in his hands if he is not going to shoot?” Good question, me. Sadly, the first name that came to my mind was Nate Robinson. The only other two were Noah and Deng. Being your starting point guard, Hinrich should be listed, but he chiefly loves dribbling and and making unimaginative passes, i.e. short passes to a guarded player. Granted, he is mainly in there for defensive (and basketball) reasons, but that excuse does not take away from the overall problem. Rip Hamilton is becoming less and less interested in defense this year, but he was in there during the stretch, as the Bulls needed something, anything on offense.
Basically, the Bulls defense can only take them so far. If they have a few players who are not hitting their shots against a top-tier team, there is hardly a Plan B.
Like a Pelican at Red Tide For the above reasons, it will be interesting to see who Thibs goes with down the stretch at shooting guard. I imagine that the decision will lie in the match-ups, but I assume Thibs will always want to lean toward defense (Jimmy Butler). However, last season he usually fancied Korver in crunch time, meaning Rip could become his go-to. Then again, there is always the useless corpse of Marco Belinelli at Thibs’ disposal. … I find myself as a bit of a Reggie Miller defender when it comes to his color analyst “skills”. It is not so much as I think he is great at it; it more has to do with my hatred of most people in his same position. Yet, I nearly pissed my pants in this one, when he uttered, “You have to love this Chicago offense.” … I am not sure how many more State Farm jingles I can endure without giving into the temptation of throwing my wine glass into the TV. It is going to be a long season. … I am hardly going to label Saturday night’s game against Minnesota as a “must win,” however heavenly that term may be. Yet, seeing as the schedule gets awfully dogged after that, it sure would be a nice W. … I planned on tonight’s post being silly and plain dumb, but ended up harping on the O. Sorry, folks, I will try harder next time. Monday’s post (I am taking Saturday off.) will be about unicycles, platypuses, Frogger, and one-legged clowns, I swear.
UPDATEVILLE It appears that Mr. Luol Deng sprained his left thumb tonight. Huzzah! In that odd moment in the fourth, when Deng went up against Serge Ibaka, then did not report back to the defensive end, only to still be in the lineup after the commercial break, and left us all scratching our collective head, seems to have resulted in a bum left thumb – to keep a bum left wrist company. I say we just take a ball-peen hammer to that cursed hand and get it over with.