Monday night, we watched a different Chicago Bulls team perform. A team, I hope, we don’t see again anytime soon. The Bulls are now 1-1 on the regular season.
On Christmas day in Los Angeles, the Bulls showed up as a competitive group that came back in the final three minutes after trailing by eight points. Not only did they have a game winning floater by the MVP himself (Derrick Rose), but we witnessed Coach Thibodeau’s defensive-minded team is just that: defensive-minded still.
Game two, what would be back-to-back nights for Chicago, in Golden State is a completely different game with two completely different teams. The Bulls had trouble keeping up with the Warriors, giving up 20 turnovers and 20 points on the fastbreak. Chicago also settled for too many outside shots, going 8-for-24 behind the arc. They were outscored in the pain 42-32. Regardless of five Bulls in double-figures, Luol Deng had 22 points and 10 rebounds; Derrick Rose chipped in 13 points and eight assists, the Warriors starting backcourt, Monte Ellis and Stephen Curry, combined for 47 points and 17 assists.
In the fourth quarter, the Bulls turned the game around, erasing a 19-point deficit, bringing them within five. It wasn’t enough and the lack of intensity was the probable cause for their first loss of the season.
Tonight, the Bulls will visit the Sacramento Kings.
First things first, they need to provide a defensive edge. In the previous two games, they allowed their opponent shoot over 47 percent on the floor. Containing Kings’ guard Marcus Thorton should be one of the top assignments tonight, possibly for newly acquired guard Richard “Rip” Hamilton. In his last three games against the Bulls, Thorton has shot just under 59 percent on the floor.
The Bulls need to find a way to drive the ball to the rim and not settle for the jump shot a majority of the time. The lack of energy on offense has forced the Bulls into 34 total turnovers in a two-game span.
The addition of Hamilton to the roster and the excelling performance of Deng (almost every game) should take some pressure off of Rose, which is the goal Chicago was trying to reach over the summer. Rose has been stopped in the paint these past two games due to double teams but Rose must overcome that and find a way around the defenders. Rose has been 13-for-30 on the floor. In LA, he went 4-for-6 behind the arc and the next day at Golden State he went a cold 1-for-8.
From a fan’s perspective, I believe he can and will excel and the team is still trying to mold together, it’s just a matter of time. Stay tuned and see what happens tonight in Sacramento!