After putting up an excellent performance against the New York Knicks on Friday night, the Chicago Bulls finished off their back to back roadtrip in Atlanta as they took on the Atlanta Hawks. The game started off well for Chicago. They made their shots, moved the ball around well, and played standard Tom Thibodeau defense. Then it all fell apart from the second quarter on as Atlanta took firm control of the game and never looked back. Chicago's defense deteriorated to the point where Atlanta was creating transition opportunities out of nothing, no one could make a shot for Chicago, and passing was terrible.
Enough of that though, let's get down to each player's performance.
Noah had a very subpar night compared to how he's performed this season. I personally would like to attribute it to fatigue, but it'd be wrong of me to do saying it was fatigue would condone his six turnovers. It was just one of those nights overall. Noah wasn't getting it done on defense, was repeatedly boxed out (sometimes by guys smaller than him) and just didn't make as big of an impact on offense.
Boozer has posted up yet another bad night as he managed to put up numbers that a minimum contract player could and should. As usual, defense was completely absent.
Bad night for Deng. Offensively, he was very inefficient from the field, making just over 33% of his shots. He also seemed to lack aggressiveness in the game but that could just be my perception. Defensively he was decent tonight however he seemed to have many defensive lapses where he failed to rotate over to the open man
In the few recent games I've seen, Belinelli has been a revelation. He'd be effective from the field and looked like he should have been starting all season long. Last night he went back to what I expected him to be after seeing him in the preseason. He barely took any shots last night but the ones he did were ill advised pull up jumpers off the dribble, or contested shots. He also managed to only take one three point shot which defeats the purpose of why he was signed to begin with. Defensively, Belinelli was on the lower end of average/upper end of bad.
Overall, just a night to forget for Belinelli.
Against New York, Hinrich almost got a triple-double and my jaw was literally on the floor. Against Atlanta he went back to what I expect from him on a nightly basis. Defensively, Jeff Teague and Lou Williams repeatedly blew by him. Offensively, Hinrich was absolutely terrible as he shot 27% from the field while only managing to get 4 assists. The latter isn't entirely his fault since you need your teammates to make shots to get assists; however there were about five or six times that I saw a man wide open in the corner and Captain Kirk opted to take the shot instead.
Bad night for Hinrich.
A good number of bench players were used which to me was fairly shocking. The highlight of the bench was Jimmy Butler who provided strong defense, made a small presence on the glass, and also made his shots. The rest of the bench (Nate Robinson, Vladimir Radmanovic, Taj Gibson — who shouldn't have been playing at all — and Marquis Teague) were average at best. A note on Teague: he looked pretty good. Hopefully he gets more time moving forward.
Thibodeau strayed away from his eight man lineup which I personally liked. I agree with the notion to play who is getting it done, but it's not feasible to play the starters 40+ minutes a night. He also played Teague which also makes me happy. Overall, Thibs did what he could as a coach by calling timeouts at the right times and putting in the right guys (though there were some slip-ups in the latter). The team just didn't execute.
The fourth quarter effort from the game against the Knicks seemed to spill over into the game against Atlanta. Of course I'm not happy about it but it seems to have been one of those nights. Overall, the team played terribly on both sides of the ball. It was an F effort but a few gems on the night salvaged them to a 59.5% in my grade book.
What I Expect For Next Time:
- Better defense/getting back to play defense. The Bulls allowed too many transition baskets by simply running back slowly to play defense. And most of the times that Chicago did get back on defense, they ended up rotating poorly, thus giving up open shots.
- Better passing. Fifteen turnovers isn't too bad of a number for an NBA game. However, quite a few of the passes that I saw made yesterday were just not smart. Atlanta players would either tip them and/or a Bulls player would fumble the pass because it was errant. Better, more precise passes should open up more opportunities for Chicago's offense and tire out defenses.
Thanks for tuning in everyone. We hope you enjoyed the game as much as possible and are looking forward to Omer Asik's return to the United Center on Christmas Day as the Bulls host the Houston Rockets. Until next time.
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