Tale of Two Halves, Way Too Many Turnovers, A Broken Mindset, and Other Bulls Bullets
The Chicago Bulls shot 55.0 percent in the first half on Saturday night. They registered an assist on 19 of their first 22 made baskets and saw all five starters finish with a +6 or better.
Meanwhile, the Cavaliers shot 36.4 percent from the field and a ghastly 5-18 from downtown. Considering they had played a late game less than 24 hours prior in New Orleans, the slow start made sense and felt indicative of how the rest of the night would go. And I’m sure it would have been if they were playing any other team besides the Chicago Bulls.
- I’m confident in saying that no team is better at throwing a game away than the Bulls. The cards were completely in their favor last night. Not only did they have a humming offense that included strong contributions from their supporting cast, but they had a Cavs team that was playing on extremely tired legs. The majority of teams around the NBA find a way to win this game. Instead, the Bulls glanced at their cards, saw a royal flush, and decided to fold.
- Chicago was outscored 57-40 in the second half and turned the ball over 11 times for a total of 22 TOVs. The Cavs scored 21 points off those mistakes throughout the game, and they also used a 7-3 victory on the offensive glass over the final two quarters to help them score 14 second-chance points compared to the Bulls’ 2. This is why they were able to walk away winners despite shooting 41.9 percent on the night. “We had so many possessions where we didn’t mark good decisions all the way around,” Donovan said after the game. You can say that again.
- The Bulls also finished the night with more turnovers than 3-point shot attempts. Let that sink in. While this didn’t make a significant difference thanks to the Cavs shooting just 9-35 from long range, it does still underscore just how limited this Bulls offense continues to be. The fact that the opposing team doesn’t have to worry a lick about the Bulls making them pay from downtown only makes them that much easier to guard. This – combined with the absence of a real facilitator to help take care of the basketball– is a reason why we continue to see opponents take command of games in the second half. This is a predictable offense that good teams will figure out as the game goes on.
- It’s also hard not to think there are at least some mind games coming into play at this point in the season. Head coach Billy Donovan was asked about just that after the game, and even he couldn’t deny it: “Probably. I don’t necessarily see that, but I’m sure that could be going through their minds, especially with what happened here,” Donovan said about a potential “here we go again” mindset. “But you have to fight through that stuff. We just have too many self-inflicted mistakes.”
- NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson also asked DeRozan about this, and he couldn’t do anything other than agree, as well:
- On one hand, the coaching staff has to do a better job of erasing this thought process. It’s up to them to ingrain the kind of confidence into this team that doesn’t allow them to panic when adversity strikes. On the other hand, I think this just all goes back to the general roster flaws. When you don’t have shooters, you don’t have a true point guard, and you don’t have a clearly established hierarchy among the players … you’re just setting yourself up to lose these kinds of games.
- Patrick Williams started the night 4-4 with 9 points. He scored from behind the arc, dunked in transition, bullied his way for a reverse layup in the post, and dove hard off the screen for another ferocious slam. He went on to finish the night with just 13 points, but it was still an extremely encouraging offensive performance when we consider the number of ways in which he found the bottom of the net. He got involved in several ways, and I sure hope his teammates keep looking for him during these final 25 games.
- My jaw hit the floor when Coby White did this …
- Apparently, there is some skepticism around whether or not White actually got his hand on this basketball. The final box score still doesn’t give him credit for the block, and I guess the replay makes it look as if Okoro could have stuffed himself at the rim. But, I don’t know, I gave it a pretty close look and I do think that White touches it first, thus making it also hit the rim.
- The idea of Russell Westbrook coming in and thinking he can be the hero is … terrifying.
- Gotta love everyone laughing at your team!
- The top buyout guys are starting to get scooped up …
- If you need me the rest of the day, I’ll be preparing Philly Cheesesteaks and BBQ for tonight’s festivities.
- I can’t wait to be right!
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