As the title indicates, the Chicago Bulls managed to squeak a win out against the Toronto Raptors tonight in what ended up being an overtime thriller. The game was bizarre in almost every aspect. I don't know how to make heads or tails out of this game so I'll leave that to the post game recap.
All I can say though is that I'm not happy about tonight's performance. I'm used to the Bulls blowing big leads and I saw it coming tonight against the Raptors, but Chicago's offensive execution towards the end of the game was just so bad. Chicago strayed from their hot hand, Boozer, and began to randomly play isolation basketball with players who should never play iso ball (Belinelli). As a result, Chicago almost lost to yet another team that they should have handily taken down. But I guess a win is a win and I'll take it.
Noah continues to show us why he deserves to be an All-Star this season. Offensively, he was inefficient for yet another game with a poor shooting night. However, he repeatedly got to the line and converted the majority of his free throws. For a Bulls team that has struggled with free throws in the past, that's big. And for a big man to make free throws at the rate he does is impressive, at least it is to me.
Tonight, Noah also cleaned up on the boards (as the number to the left indicates) and also dominated on defense. We all know Boozer is a major defensive liability, so the fact that both Amir Johnson and Ed Davis were severely limited can almost entirely be attributed to Noah.
Good game from Noah tonight. I'd like to give him an A, however his inefficient shooting did almost hurt Chicago tonight so I cannot justify it.
Boozer with yet another great performance (offensively of course… you should know we'll never see a strong defensive performance from him let alone defense in general). If he keeps this up Bulls fans may get used to it and become depressed if the production ever goes away (likely).
Boozer came out of the gates unstoppable tonight scoring 17 points in the first quarter alone. Almost the entire game he was incredibly efficient and was making just about anything that came into his hands. I say almost the entire game mainly because the Bulls inexplicably went away from his hot hand and tried executing the offense through other people.
This marks yet another double-double for Boozer as well as he came up with some excellent rebounds, including a clutch one in overtime to help put Chicago over the top.
Another excellent game from Boozer as he put up another All-Star caliber performance (no, I'm not saying he is an All-Star. Two good weeks an all-star does not make).
Good game from Deng tonight. He lived up to his standard offensive production while managing to get a decent amount of boards. What stands out to me was his ability to rack up 7 assists, more than any of Chicago's point guards tonight. Definite plus there on a night where Kirk, Nate, and Belinelli were not that good (surprise, surprise). I have to give Deng a nice little letter boost for the clutch shot he hit in overtime to give the Bulls the lead for good.
For the 18 minutes that Hamilton actually played, he played very well which makes me extremely confused why he only played 18 minutes compared to Belinelli's 35 minutes, especially when Belinelli stunk it up.
Hamilton was extremely efficient on offense and managed to keep the Toronto guards at bay to a degree. Hamilton probably cannot be happy with this and I woudn't blame him if he complained to Thibs about this.
Hopefully Hamilton can repeat this production and get more minutes to complement it.
Hinrich was decently terrible tonight. By that I mean he was bad on offense. Scoring wise he was just not good. He attempted few shots, thankfully, but the ones that he did take were wide open and he still missed them. And as a point guard, he failed to rack up any assists or set up any of his teammates nicely.
The decent part of decently terrible comes from the fact that he forced three steals which is always a bonus. I wont say that I'm happy about how easily Toronto's guards were getting by him, but I'm getting used to him letting people by him.
The bench was, frankly, bad tonight. Taj Gibson started off terribly before salvaging his night by creating some nice buckets. Gibson eventually fouled out though which isn't good when Chicago needs defense off the bench. Nate Robinson did almost nothing and played Manti Te'o's girlfriend level defense (non-existant if you didn't understand that one). Finally, Marco Belinelli just made me want to vomit with terrible isolation play, terrible shots, missed important free throws, and horrendous defense (he's lucky he isn't a starter otherwise his grade would have looked so bad). Tonight, the bench brought back the name BenchSobs with force.
I love Thibs. You all know this. But he needs to bring an offensive minded assistant coach to help him draw up some plays towards the end of games. The isolation ball was a random and terrible idea. On top of that, he barely played Jimmy Butler, a felony in my mind, and refused to play Marquis Teague when he clearly couldn't have played worse than Hinrich, Robinson, and Belinelli could. Oh, yeah, he also benched a very efficient Hamilton for a terrible Belinelli tonight. Bad night for Thibs.
A win is a win and the Bulls will get a passing grade for it but it was ugly. Looking at the sum of the parts, despite the good/excellent performances of some of the players, I have to give the team a bad grade tonight.
What I Expect For Next Time:
- The Bulls to hold onto a lead. Chicago was up 16 at one point and managed to blow. If Chicago could find a way to close out games life would be so much easier for them.
- The Bulls to actually send the offense through what and/or who is working. Boozer was a monster tonight as he has been since 2013 started. Why he didn't have the ball that often in the second half of the game is a mystery to me. If something is working, go back to it until it stops working then figure out something new.
Tonight's game was frustrating but we hope you all enjoyed it. The next Bulls game is Friday the 18th in Boston against the Celtics. Given how much these teams dislike each other it should be a good game and we're hoping you're looking forward to it. Until next time.
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