I’m still trying to get rid of that foul taste in my mouth from the last game. Granted, it’s fine to melt down once every few games, especially after a 6 game win streak. Our calling card – our defense! Practically non-existent. I’m not even going to start about the bit on offense. Will the guys bring it tomorrow and clean the Bulls out?
Fact: Despite not having Derrick Rose, the Bulls are still a strong presence in the East. They have won 7 of their last 10 games, including road games against potential contenders like the Heat and the Knicks (maybe not).
Fact #2: The season is split at 1-1 so far, a 101-95 victory and a 89-100 loss, both at United Center.
Fact #3: The starting lineup will likely be shifted to JET getting the start (pre-Avery return) if Avery is not available to dress tomorrow. Would that make things better for JET, who only just recently broke out of his slump? Or would Lee be getting the nod?
Game time: 19 Jan 2013, 1100hrs AEDT
Watch on: NBA League Pass and ESPN Australia (Foxtel)
1. Wilcox is still out with his thumb injury (sprained ulnar collateral). He is cleared to play, but likely a day-to-day while he eases through practice.
2. Fab Melo is still not cleared for full contact practice after his recent concussion (walked into a doorway).
3. Avery Bradley suffered a rib injury from a collision during the Hornets game, and could be day-to-day. He was out at the last practice.
Playing against the good old defensive-minded Bulls, avoiding an offensive meltdown like the last game is of the utmost importance. We need to take our shots when they’re open yes, but please: get into the paint and work for the points when they are not falling.
Rant: I’m tired of the good old “it’s a make/miss league” comment, it’s not an excuse. Putting up jumpers all night long is not a winning strategy, everyone have to move and get open. Look at Miami playing on the road against the Lakers, did they make their shots? Hell no, they were shooting like horsecrap from long distance (2 of 13 from 3 point). Granted they had two geniuses named Wade and James to bail them out, but you cannot ever fault their effort in getting points in the paint. Even Ray was trying to get points in the paint, although I have to say he failed miserably on that bunny.
(Anyway.) Right now, the Bulls are third in the league in opponent points allowed per game (91.7 PPG) and have a stumbling sort of offense without Rose, scoring 93.9 PPG (25th in league). Does that sound like the Celtics of the past few seasons? Grinding defense sounds like the kind of thing I’m not ready for, after watching that putrid Hornets game.
- The ball needs to move.
- Rondo needs to stop pounding the ball and drive more, get his points or open the floor up for Bradley’s opportunistic cuts (if he is around).
- Bass needs to set harder screens.
- Pierce needs to stop hero balling too often (especially when he’s not feeling it) and look to drive and dish to KG/Bass, the way he does things when Rondo’s not on the floor.
- The bench needs to play more and get seasoned together, especially on tough games like these.
- I would like KG to facilitate the offense, set a screen and create mismatches for everyone. For example, get a small guy on the low post, or switch a defending big on Rondo.
- I want to see Green take it in against Deng, Gibson or Boozer. Or better, switch and get a mismatch against the likes of Hinrich or Bellineli. Green needs to flaunt what he’s got and start driving and dunking on someone if the open threes are not coming. The team needs his points (and posters).
- I want to see Sully do what he does, and keep at it. Energy points, hustle offensive boards, the mid-range – we need that.
We can get all the damn stops in the world, but someone has to put the basket in. And until we do that enough, it’s not working.
Close out the final home game and let’s get some momentum going on the road!