Here's the thing about the Chicago Bulls this year: They're not that good.
They're a ridiculous defensive team. Nobody denies this. But they can't score to save their lives if the jumpers aren't falling, and they tend not to fall much. The defense will keep them in most games, but without an even average offense, they're in trouble.
With three days off between games, and the lowly Washington Wizards at home, you'd think the Bulls would run Washington off the court.
They did not.
They even trailed by four after one quarter and seemed in danger of choking the game away at a couple of different points in the second half. The offense never seemed to get in gear, with Joakim Noah good but not great, Luol Deng struggling, Kirk Hinrich doing Kirk Hinrich things, and Carlos Boozer managing to put up 15 and 12 despite the fact that he seemed invisible for much of the game.
The sad part is that the Bulls are now officially as healthy as they can be until Derrick Rose makes his triumphant return. Rip Hamilton finally returned after a foot injury sidelined him on December 4. He scored 9 points on 4/9 from the field and looked half-decent in his return. He'll be on a minutes limit for the foreseeable future — he played just 15 last night — but it's nice to have him back. Well, at least until he's finally traded, that is.
Unfortunately, this means that Jimmy Butler is going to have his minutes cut going forward. Tom Thibodeau has decided that Marco Belinelli will get the bulk of the wing minutes, and with Luol Deng continuing to play pretty much the entire game, Jimmy isn't going to get much burn. Even when Thibs could have gone small, with Noah in foul trouble, he went with seldom-used Nazr Mohammed instead. Yes, Nazr had 8 rebounds, but he's not good at offense or at defense.
Anyway, the Bulls won and that's what matters. Hopefully they'll bounce back against the Orlando Magic, but you probably shouldn't hold your breath.
Player o' the Game: Marco Belinelli (17 points, 3 assists)
If you have any better ideas, you're probably right. It really didn't feel like anyone played particularly well. But Belinelli at least had a couple of dunks, which was fun. So…yeah.
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