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Recap: (8-5) Chicago Bulls Blown Out by (9-3) Portland Trailblazers

November 22nd, 2014 at 12:00 AM
By Christopher Terzic

There’s something about games in Portland, man. The Chicago Bulls lost the game to the Trailblazers 105-87, but they also may have lost Taj Gibson, who went down holding his ankle in the third quarter. The team announced that Gibson suffered a left ankle sprain in the 105-94 loss to the Trailblazers, and he did not return.

Nikola Mirotic was basically the lone bright spot for the Bulls, finishing with his first career double-double on 24 points and 11 rebounds. Everything else was as ugly as the final scored indicated. In fact, the game got so ugly that Mike Dunleavy nearly got ejected after an unnecessary flagrant foul on Damian Lillard in the third quarter. It was the type of game that you just hoped everyone left unscathed, but that unfortunately did not happen tonight.

The Circus Trip always seems to get the best of the Bulls, but never forget that at one point in time the Bulls had lost 37 straight games on this trip. So, let that serve as a reminder that things could always be worse.

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Preview: (8-4) Chicago Bulls Continue West Coast Trip Against (8-3) Portland Trailblazers

November 21st, 2014 at 3:00 PM
By Christopher Terzic

The Chicago Bulls are coming off of their worst loss of the season efficiency-wise last night against the Sacramento Kings. Chicago scored 88 points on 91 offensive possessions, resulting in a season-worst 96.7 Offensive Efficiency Rating. The Bulls also pitched their second worst defensive outing of the season, allowing 103 points in 89 defensive possessions, which is good for a sky-high 115.7 Defensive Efficiency Rating.

Watching the game last night, it sure didn’t feel like such a haphazard defeat, though. It was an exciting, competitive contest throughout the first half, and only until very late in the fourth quarter did the Kings manage to put the game away. Also, considering that Chicago played without Derrick Rose and Pau Gasol, they were bound to show the effects of that eventually.

Now is not a good time to take on the Portland Trailblazers. The Blazers are making the second most threes (10.5) per game on average, they’re allowing opponents to make the fewest (5.2), and they play in front of one of the loudest home crowds in basketball. Portland also has a +93 point differential and is winning by an average of 13.9 points in their eight wins.

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Recap: (7-5) Sacramento Kings Drop (8-4) Chicago Bulls 103-88

November 21st, 2014 at 12:54 AM
By Christopher Terzic

Things started off hot, as the Chicago Bulls jumped to a 29-22 lead after one quarter against the Sacramento Kings. Over the next three quarters, however, things did not go so well as the Kings dropped the Bulls 103-88, snapping their 6-0 road start.

The Bulls were outscored 81-59 after the first quarter and went the entire second and third periods without making a three-point shot. The short-handed Bulls were without Derrick Rose and Pau Gasol, and simply couldn’t score enough tonight despite getting another strong effort from Jimmy Butler, who led the team with 23 points (11-18 FG), eight rebounds, and two steals.

Nobody else managed to score more than 12 points, and the Bulls’ bigs were in foul trouble all game long. Tonight was a combination of not having enough firepower and not putting together a complete game. However, there’s no shame in this loss when you compare it to the letdowns against Boston and Indiana earlier this season.

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Preview: (8-3) Chicago Bulls Face (6-5) Sacramento Kings Tonight on TNT

November 20th, 2014 at 3:01 PM
By Christopher Terzic

First things first, Derrick Rose and Pau Gasol are both out tonight for the Chicago Bulls. Both players were listed as questionable – Rose with a left hamstring strain and Gasol with a left calf strain – but ultimately neither will give it a go tonight against the Sacramento Kings. K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reports Rose’s absence likely will extend to next week.

The Bulls were similarly short-handed on Monday night in their 105-89 win over the Los Angeles Clippers, which may have been the most complete game the team played all season. However, it’s obviously far from ideal to be playing without Rose and Gasol again, given that they are the team’s two best offensive players.

Not to mention, their opponent tonight appears to be actually contending out West this season. The Kings have been one of the surprises early on; they even beat the defending champion San Antonio Spurs. They only have a +6 point differential, but the Kings have been getting to the free throw line more than any other team in the NBA. They are also a top ten rebounding team.

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Nikola Mirotic and Doug McDermott Early Season Breakdown

November 19th, 2014 at 2:45 PM
By Christopher Terzic

In basketball, and all sports really, a small sample size should be taken lightly. This is a basic principle in Stats 101, and is, for the most part, a sound ideology. Chicago Bulls’ rookies Doug McDermott and Nikola Mirotic are only 11 games deep in their respective NBA careers, but it’s never too early to take a glimpse at how the rookies have fared.

Let’s start with Mirotic, who has been the far more encouraging player of the two. He’s putting up a measly 3.8 points and 3.1 rebounds in about 12 minutes of action, but his traditional numbers are pretty much useless aside from his 33 percent shooting from three-point range. His shooting was his marquee trade value prior to his arrival in Chicago, and the billing has matched the description thus far.

Per NBA.com, Mirotic is shooting 42.9 percent on catch-and-shoot threes, and he’s shooting 66.7 on one-dribble two-point attempts. Over half of Mirotic’s shots have come from downtown, which might seem hard to believe because he has a tendency to over-rely on his pump-fake, thus causing him to move off the three-point line. It’s maddening at times to watch Mirotic pass up open threes, but he’s utilizing his pump-fake to open up other areas of the game for both himself and his teammates.

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