An Aggressive Second Half, The Rookie's 4th Quarter, Thad Young's Cursing, and Other Bulls Bullets

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An Aggressive Second Half, The Rookie’s 4th Quarter, Thad Young’s Cursing, and Other Bulls Bullets

Chicago Bulls

Before you read this, you might as well watch this:

•   I guess that’s one way to put it, Thad.

•   In my opinion, the Bulls first-half crumble at the hands of the second-to-worst team in the NBA was a little bit more than a “lil shaky.” The team, once again, came out flat despite the numerous encouraging signs they showed just two days prior in a victory over the 4th-place Indiana Pacers. The Pistons may not have been the more talented team, but they were the more physical and motivated one, and that left head coach Billy Donovan all kinds of bummed even in the wake of a comeback W: “I was disappointed in our team, to be honest with you, in the first half. Really disappointed,” Donovan told reporters after the game. “I think if you look at the last two weeks of our team where we have played well one night, no consistency the next night … it’s hard to be good when you do that. We, in a lot of ways, let luck play into tonight.” Don’t worry, he gave credit where credit was due, but the standard is simply higher for the Bulls new head coach, and I think that is something all fans can appreciate.

•   The latter half of Young’s statement is 100 percent true. The Bulls did pull through together, especially in the final quarter. While Zach LaVine did most of the heavy lifting to get his team back into the game (15 of his 37 points came in the 3rd quarter), the Bulls defensive turnaround and 4th quarter success was a group effort. The team forced eight Pistons turnovers in the second half and held the group to just 12 points in the 3rd quarter. Part of that could be regression to the mean for a less-than-stellar Pistons offense, but the other part was just playing a more physical brand of basketball. The Bulls focused their attention on the paint, shooting 24 of their 45 attempts in the second half inside of 8ft (ultimately winning the points in the paint battle 56-52). Likewise, the team ran away with the rebounding category in the second half, out-grabbing the Pistons 27-19 after entering the locker room with two fewer boards.

•   The Bulls’ two youngest players also put on their big boy pants. After playing so poorly that head coach Billy Donovan had to put them in a timeout to start the second half, both looked like they were on a mission to make their father proud. White hit a ridiculous fadeaway-jumper with Dennis Smith Jr. plastered to his chest to cut the Pistons lead to 3-point, and he also knocked down a crisp corner 3 with 1:01 left to go to give the Bulls a 4-point cushion. Meanwhile, Williams added 12 of his 15 points in the final frame, twice decking the six-foot-eleven, 254-pound Mason Plumlee for a score at the rim. He also ended up sinking arguably the biggest shot of the night with 28 seconds remaining … and then proceeded to walk back toward the bench like he owned the United Center.

•   Awesome Alert: Thad cussed his team out for being a bunch of wusses.

•  How much does this improve Young’s trade value? I’m thinking at least, like, one additional protected first, right? Anyway, we wrote more about where Young’s presence in the market stands on Wednesday:

•   Wendell Carter Jr. received more minutes last night, and he used them wisely. The big man finished as the team’s second-leading scorer with 18 points on an efficient 7-9 shooting performance. He also didn’t record a single foul or turnover, which is the first time the third-year player avoided committing both in a game in his NBA career. What I really love about that is the third-year center told reporters the other day that he realized the following while sitting out with his recent injury: “Those two things are definitely something that I recognized, and as I’m coming back, I want to help my team keep the turnovers down, and help my team keep the fouling down.” Mission accomplished (for one night, at least), Wendell.

•   Ew.

•   Swirsky got moves!


Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is the Lead Bulls Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.