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Recap: 15-9 Chicago Bulls Dropped by 17-7 Atlanta Hawks

December 15th, 2014 at 9:19 PM
By Christopher Terzic

The Atlanta Hawks took advantage of a poor shooting night from the Chicago Bulls to pick up a nice-looking 93-86 win. The Bulls played a day late and a dollar short, as they just couldn’t surmount the lead Atlanta held basically the entire game. The Hawks have now won 10 of their last 11 games and are really hitting their stride. We said it in our preview: the Hawks are for real, folks.

Al Horford looked like his old self, going for 21 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, and two steals. It was clear Atlanta intended on forcing Pau Gasol to step out and guard Horford at points throughout the evening, but time and time again Gasol couldn’t come up with an answer. It was the second game of a back-to-back and Gasol did play 40 minutes, so it’s possible that fatigue set in. But teams have started to exploit Gasol’s lack of mobility and cement feet more often, which is not by coincidence.

Atlanta took care of the ball, only committing nine turnovers. They also dished out 26 assists on 36 made shots. Horford provided the big individual performance, but outside of that it was a complete team effort in the victory.

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Preview: East Powers 15-8 Chicago Bulls and 16-7 Atlanta Hawks Square Off

December 15th, 2014 at 1:41 PM
By Christopher Terzic

The Atlanta Hawks aren’t a fluke; they’re the real deal. This is a good basketball team that knows its identity, is comfortable in who they are, and plays exactly within themselves. A team that knows itself is a testament to coaching, and Mike Budenholzer deserves credit for fitting personnel with playing style masterfully. The Chicago Bulls know these Hawks are no joke, and tonight’s contest will be a true test of the top dogs in the Eastern Conference.

Sure, Atlanta isn’t among the handful of teams league wide with real championship contending ability. In a seven-game series, teams like Chicago, Cleveland, Washington, or Toronto would eventually overwhelm a team like the Hawks and talent would prevail. But nobody does more with less than Atlanta, and on any given night, they can beat you by doing what they do best: shooting.

There’s a traditionally held belief in basketball that says any team who lives by shooting jumpers will also fall by that same expense. From a philosophical standpoint, it’s truly a double-edged sword. But while nearly a third (30.9 percent) of Atlanta’s shots are coming from downtown, their top five shooters are all shooting above last year’s league average of 36 percent.

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Recap: 15-8 Chicago Bulls Blow Out 11-13 Miami Heat

December 14th, 2014 at 7:54 PM
By Christopher Terzic

For the first time in a long time, the Chicago Bulls displayed the trademark defense that they’ve come to be identified with under head coach Tom Thibodeau. They pitched a season best effort, holding the Miami Heat to only 75 points as Chicago breezed to a 93-75 victory. Mike Dunleavy had a game-high 22 points, and four Bulls starters finished in double figures.

Chicago held Miami to just 48 points through three quarters and nearly scored more points (27) in the fourth quarter than they did in quarters two and three (30) combined.

Of course, the Heat didn’t have leading scorer Chris Bosh, but they couldn’t muster up anything on offensive to compensate for his absence. They shot 35 percent, only made four threes, and had 12 assists on 28 made field goals. Former Bull Luol Deng had a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds, but that’s about the only nice thing you can say about the Heat on Sunday night.

Simply put: Miami flat out stunk. In a game where Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler, and Pau Gasol shoot a combined 12-37, there’s absolutely no excuse to lose by 18 points.

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Preview: 11-12 Miami Heat and 14-8 Chicago Bulls

December 14th, 2014 at 3:27 PM
By Christopher Terzic

Can you consider the Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls rivals anymore? After all, we only got to see a Derrick Rose-LeBron James playoff matchup once during James’ run in Miami as Rose’s fragile knees took two and a half years off the career of the league’s youngest MVP. Miami still has Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and head coach Erik Spoelstra though – and they’ve added former Bull Luol Deng into the equation. But the mystique of what once was supposed to be the NBA’s next great rivalry is gone, and it’s best to leave it in the past.

There’s no use in looking back for either Chicago or Miami now. LeBron left town, and Miami is now ushering in a new era led by Bosh. Rose was gone, but now he might actually be back without it sounding overly optimistic to say so.

When looking at the Heat this season, it’s unfair to comparatively look at what they’ve done in the past due to the LeBron effect. Over the years, though, Spoelstra built a foundation on defense, and Miami isn’t anywhere close to the level Spoe expects. On the surface, they look pretty good, only allowing 98.6 points per game, good for tenth in the league. But then you look their defense adjusted for pace and you see that Miami is allowing 110.2 per 100 possessions, which would rank fourth to last.

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Chicago Bulls: Doug McDermott Set to Undergo Arthroscopic Procedure

December 13th, 2014 at 12:33 PM
By Christopher Terzic

In a weird, confusing situation, Chicago Bulls rookie forward Doug McDermott is out for the foreseeable future with no timetable set for return. The team announced basically right after tipoff last night that McDermott will undergo an arthroscopic procedure on his ailing right knee that’s caused him to miss the last five games. Here’s the entire memo from the Bulls’ website:

The Chicago Bulls announced tonight that forward Doug McDermott will have an arthroscopic procedure on his right knee (tomorrow, December 13). The procedure will be performed by Chicago Bulls head team physician Dr. Brian Cole of Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush. A timetable for his return will be determined after the procedure.

It all started 11 days ago on Dec. 1 when McDermott’s knee flared up in practice, causing Tom Thibodeau to rule him out of the Dallas game the following night. Guys miss games, things happen- whatever, not a big deal.

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