All posts by Joey Gelman

Note-A-Bulls: Bulls Win 4th Straight, Top “Kingless” Cavs 117-99

In their second game as the “new-look” Bulls, Jimmy Butler and company faced the Cleveland Cavaliers without Superstar LeBron James. With their recent trade of Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott, the Bulls started Bobby Portis and Jerian Grant, alongside Butler, Wade and Lopez. Both teams got out of the gate extremely slow, missing many of their first shots from the field but the Bulls were able to keep it close and play neck and neck with Cleveland for the first half. A hot shooting night from 3pt-land and a depleted Cavaliers team allowed the Bulls to come out of Cleveland with a win, their 3rd against the Eastern Conference favorite this season.

  • The shorthanded Cavaliers looked beatable tonight without their entire Big 3, especially early on in the game.
  • 4 ½ minutes into the game the Bulls were shooting 31.3% from the field, and the Cavaliers were shooting 35.7%, prompting announcer Jeff Van Gundy to want to leave the game early.
  • The Bulls came into tonight last in 3pt field goal percentage and 3pt field goal attempts, and completed a season high tonight of 15 made 3 pointers in the game.
    • In their second game without sharp-shooter Doug McDermott, the Bulls shot a surprising 50% from behind the arc with the help of rookie Denzel Valentine, newcomer Cameron Payne and the continued great play from Jimmy Butler, who finished with a triple double (18pts, 10reb 10asts).
    • I am still trying to figure out the Bulls plan with Valentine. A month ago, Valentine was between the D-League and the NBA, and I wrote that if he couldn’t crack this version of the Bulls roster, there wasn’t really much hope for him moving forward. However, it seems with the trade of Taj Gibson, Valentine will get that consistent chance he’s been waiting for. With Portis continuing to struggle, and after a 15-point game last night, Valentine finished with 11 points from the field tonight, 3-5 from distance, including two big threes in the 4th quarter to put the game away. It was nice to see him actually given a chance out on the floor and to see him deliver efficient results.
  • It was the Bulls bench that carried them in the first half, accounting for 21/35 points at the 7:58 mark in the 2nd quarter.
    • Newly acquired guard Cameron Payne made his Bulls debut and finished with 6 points on two 3 pointers. He looked a little uncomfortable bringing the ball up the floor, but was confident shooting. It should be interesting to see how the Bulls use him moving forward, as there is a logjam at the point guard position.
  • Former Bull Kyle Korver was quick to impress again, finishing 4/7 from 3pt land and 14 points. He now is 5th all-time in NBA history for most 3 pointers made in a career, just passing Vince Carter and Jamal Crawford. Korver will be remembered as one of the premier 3-pt shooters in NBA history, yet I still look at his time with the Bulls as a disappointment, as they never were able to run plays for him effectively, never able to get the looks he got tonight from the field.
  • At the half, the Bulls, playing one of their better halves of the year besides a few defensive lapses, found themselves down 56-55.
  • The second half showed consistency for the Bulls. They were able to take advantage of a Cavaliers team that is now 0-9 when playing with only 1 of their 3 stars.
    • However, their star that did suit up, Kyrie Irving, finished the night with 34 points, an impressive showing.
  • To note:  Former Mavericks Guard Deron Williams will be signing with Cleveland for the remainder of the season, adding another scoring piece to Lebron’s arsenal.
  • A clock malfunction at the end of the 3rd quarter allowed Rajon Rondo’s buzzer beater to count, giving them an 89-76 lead and by the 9:14 mark in the 4th, they were up 20 points, 98-78.
  • New Bulls Cameron Payne, Joffrey Lauvergne and Antony Morrow (DNP) did not see the floor in the second half, as Fred Hoiberg went the rest of the half with his normal rotation.
    • Unlike last night, Hoiberg decided to stick with Nikola Mirotic down the stretch vs. Denzel Valentine, a questionable decision in my opinion. While Mirotic finished the night with 14 points, and had a big 3-pointer at the end of the game to put it away, he was still only 2/5 from 3 and chose not to box out on a missed free throw by Christiano Felicio, again giving more reason to question his on-the-court commitment that we hear about in media reports.
  • This article cannot be complete without mention of Dwyane Wade. After his “poster” of a dunk last night, he continued to turn back the clock, finishing with 20 points, including some nice slashes to the basket and vintage step-back jumpers.

In my eyes, for the first time this season, the Bulls played a full 4 quarters. They were up for the challenge of a road-trip to Cleveland and proved that they still have some fight in them this season. While many of us are hoping they are just good enough to stay out of the playoffs and get that lottery pick, it was encouraging to see good play from young talent. While I don’t cheer often watching this team, I enjoyed seeing a Denzel Valentine 3-pointer swish through the net at a pivotal movement in the game. The rest of the season is about development and seeing what you have in young talent moving forward. While I do not think they did enough at the trade deadline, freeing up the rotation ever so slightly, to now give newcomer Cameron Payne, Jerian Grant and Denzel Valentine an actual opportunity allows the Bulls to actually be watchable. While it may not be pretty at times, these kids have to play to see how you can build for the future.

A funny ending is always nice when you can walk away with a win. Dwyane Wade was a rebound away from a triple double; when Jimmy Bulter swiped away the Cavaliers missed shot to ensure his own triple double. The next possession as the horn sounded, the Cavaliers missed again, Wade jumped to grab the rebound, all alone under the basket, and Christiano Felicio knocked it out of his hands out of bounds as time expired. All Wade could do was smile and succumbed to the fact that Felcio denied him of as he put it,  “greatness.”

  • Up Next: the Bulls look to keep their winning streak alive as they take on the Denver Nuggets at the UC on Tuesday.
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Note-A-Bulls: After “Unacceptable Week,” Bulls fall to lowly Heat 100-88.

During one of the most dysfunctional times in recent Bulls history, the new laughing stock of the NBA had to go back to the drawing board and hit the floor against a depleted Miami Heat team. The Bulls played like a team tonight with no purpose, and with 3 outspoken players telling the truth about an organization that just can’t seem to get anything to go their way, their concerns were on full display tonight. From large turnover numbers, an inability to make shots, and a continued stagnation on offense and lack of effort defensively, the now 23-25 Bulls will look to regroup, as they handed Miami their 6th win in a row.

  • As punishment for their comments earlier in the week, Jimmy Butler and Dywane Wade were both benched by Fred Hoiberg for the first portion of the first quarter. Paul Zipser and Doug McDermott took their place in the starting lineup.
  • While in-experienced, the starting lineup including the “young” Bulls was enjoyable to watch and dissect. Without the “me” first players in Rondo, Wade and Butler, the Bulls looked like they were trying to run an offensive system. Players were moving without the ball, cutting to the basket and utilizing the pick and roll. However, when the veterans did end up coming into the game, the offense slowed again, off-the-ball movement stopped and Miami was off to the races. Doug McDermott became a forgotten man, an all too common mistake by the Bulls’ offensive game plan.
  • The Goran Dragic from the Derrick Rose poster-dunk has in fact turned into a nice NBA point guard, and it showed tonight. Dragic finished the night with 26 points and 11 assists and was in full command of a fast-paced Miami offense.
  • The quickness of Miami was thanks to the turnover numbers the Bulls gave up. The Heat scored 26 points on 20 turnovers by the Bulls. On the other hand, the Bulls only scored 8 points off of 12 Heat turnovers. Even when the Bulls grabbed a steal or had a nice block, there was no urgency on the fast break down the floor. Miami took full advantage of a slow Bulls’ defense, and the points off of turnovers were one of the key components in the loss. The Bulls scored their first points off of a turnover at the 10:28 mark in the 4th quarter.
  • The Bulls never pushed the ball up the floor when they had the chance to do so. Miami did push the ball, both on turnovers and regular offensive possessions, which proved to be one of the key differences in the game.
  • After a controversial week for Jimmy Butler, the Bulls’ star did not back up his talking points, finishing the game 1-13 from the field for just 3 points and checked himself out of the game early on after picking up his second foul against the Heat. Not a great showing for the team “leader.”
  • The Heat had a quick first step on offense while the Bulls continued to stand around the perimeter when the likes of Wade and Butler checked into the game.
  • The Bulls kept it close enough in the 1st quarter behind Paul Zipser’s 12 first half points, and found themselves even at the half 53-53.
  • But throughout the first half, the lack of scoring options on both teams was evident, especially for the Bulls. The Bulls were in fact able to get open shots, but continued to miss-fire.
  • The 2nd half was not a great story for the Bulls, as the criticisms surrounding their effort showed themselves again. Dwyane Wade failed to prove his critics wrong, as he was lackadaisical once again on defense by getting back on defense slowly and not being able to stick with his man.
  • This proved to be a constant theme for the Bulls tonight, as Miami, through the great play of Goran Dragic, sliced and diced the defense for wide open layups, or kick-outs for un-contested three point shots.
  • Also missing in this game was proper scouting and in –game adjustments. The Bulls played a Miami team missing Hassan Whiteside, had the height advantage in the paint and did not take enough advantage. The Bulls should’ve given the ball to Taj Gibson and Robin Lopez every chance they had and did not. The two combined only for 21 points.
  • Miami also took advantage of the Bulls inability to stay with their man defensively, mainly the glaring gaps in the Bulls’ defense when the Heat ran the high pick and roll. This should’ve been something corrected at halftime and never was.
  • Towards the end of the 3rd quarter the Bulls were 2/14 from the field, showing again their lack of scoring options.
  • Miami’s Wayne Ellington is an average NBA player at best, but when facing the Bulls, he found himself wide open, and hit his shots, totaling 14 points. While he didn’t have the best shooting percentage from the field, he contributed in a way one would expect Nikola Mirotic to contribute for the Bulls, yet he finished with 1 point in 15 minutes of play.
  • The always entertaining Rajon Rondo finished with 13 points, trying to gain the Bulls trust back, or chose to play well against the Heat to showcase himself for the next team he will be playing for come February.

The final thought in this game is once again the lack of a consistent rotation. Hoiberg has chosen to incorporate Paul Zipser into his lineup, which has been surprisingly beneficial. However, his inconstant use of Bobby Portis and rookie 1st round pick Denzel Valentine does nothing for their development and rapport with the team. While “resting” Wade a few days a week is unacceptable in my book, the idea of trotting out different rotations, with Wade, without Wade, with Portis, without Portis etc, doesn’t allow the team to grow. And for Denzel Valentine to not play on this team speaks volumes to his development as well as the misguided idea by management that this team is a contender this season. Letting the kids play and develop is the only way for the Bulls’ to get better and build a bright future.

  • Up next, the Bulls host the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday night at the U.C.

The Buck Stops Here: How Two Players Have Turned The Milwaukee Bucks Into The Model NBA Franchise

Milwaukee Bucks’ Forward Jabari Parker has been a basketball prodigy since he first could walk, always compared to another NBA MVP, Chicago native and Simeon Career Academy High School Graduate, Derrick Rose. Giannis Antetokounmpo, a relatively unknown star in the making at the time, took Greece by storm and is now one of the most “intriguing point guards in NBA history”(Jenkins, 2017) Both suit up for the Milwaukee Bucks, one of the most exciting and up and coming franchises to watch. Parker and the Antetokounmpo are here to stay, and have turned the NBA upside down.

Former All-Star, NBA Champion and Bucks’ Head Coach Jason Kidd, who was an electric 6’4 point guard, always wished he could be taller. “… I wanted so badly to be 6’7 or 6’8… guys like Magic are looking through a window that is so high, they can make passes I could only dream about.”(Jenkins, 2017). While his dream never came true, he can now coach it. Antetokounmpo stands at 6’11, has a wingspan of 7’3, and by the way, starts at point guard. The Bucks have shown that the traditional smaller point guard is an idea of the past, and at 6’11, you’re not just the “big guy” under the basket. The “Greek Freak” as he is known, is one of the most dynamic and exciting players to watch in the NBA. How can an opposing team defend a 6’11 point guard when their 6’11 center can’t keep up with the speed and grace Antetokounmpo possesses every time he hits the floor?

The new-age point guard is averaging 23.4 ppg, 8.6 rebounds, 5.6 assists and just around 2 steals and 2 blocks per game.  The last time a stat-line was filled with numbers like these was when the Lakers drafted their non-traditional point guard, the 6’9 NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson. Over his career Johnson averaged 19.5 ppg, 7.2 rebounds, 11.2 assists, .4 blocks and 1.9 steals per game. At 22 years old, I am not yet putting Antetokounmpo in the same category as Magic Johnson, but showing the shared dominance the two have shown in the NBA, why haven’t more teams employed the 6’5 and taller point guard?

The athleticism shown by Antetokounmpo for his height and build is incredible, and with the Bucks needing desperately to land an impact player in 2013, GM John Hammond took a risk, flew to Greece, and with the 15th overall pick, found a gem.

Jabari Parker’s story is just the opposite. Fans lined the streets to see Parker play, as he took home 4 State-Championships as a Simeon Wolverine. As the next best player out of Chicago since #1 overall pick Derrick Rose, Parker was bound for greatness. But a foot injury his senior year in high school, and an underwhelming freshman year both personally and as a team at Duke, Parker “fell” to the #2 overall pick in the 2014 draft behind Kansas star Andrew Wiggins. To make matters worse, Parker suffered a similar fate as Rose, tearing his ACL during his rookie season. Fighting his way back in what is now technically his 3rd season, Parker has found his stride again.

Parker is averaging 20.5 ppg to go along with 5.8 rebounds. With his knee back to full strength, Parker slashes hard to the basket again, has his explosive first step again, and has even made his mark from behind the arc. Shooting just 15% from 3-point last season, his percentage has skyrocketed to 41.2 % this season. While the 6’8 Parker can play both the small forward and power forward position, his tandem and rapport with point guard and occasional forward partner Giannis Antetokounmpo, leaves many match ups to worry about for opposing teams.

Size and athleticism has always been what the NBA is about, but this Milwaukee combination is something the NBA has not seen before. The Bucks cashed in on back-to-back drafts and have created a formula that many NBA teams will begin to follow. The Bucks have proven that you can no longer look at potential players solely based on their stereotypical role in the NBA. If another scout saw Antetokounmpo at 6’11, he would be deemed a center, and therefore be drastically underutilized by whatever team acquired his services. However, his youth coaches and now the Bucks realize what they have in a 6’11, playmaking “point guard” taking the NBA by storm. With both players under the age of 25, Parker (21 years old) and Antetokounmpo (22 years old) have a bright and exciting future. This season has proven that proper scouting, development and unwavering commitment to a plan can build a team that can become a perennial contender. The Bucks are using two players that may have been type-cast 20 years ago, that are now taking the NBA and the city of Milwaukee to new heights and their athleticism and basketball smarts have changed the way we analyze the game.

Milwaukee never caved into pressures, continued to build and create a two-headed monster in Parker and Antetokounmpo that has many teams re-assessing the way they have tried to build their organizations over the past few seasons. The NBA has always been a league of athletic playmakers and the Bucks have struck gold in finding two players, from completely different backgrounds, that will continue to change the game for the better.

Works Cited:

Jenkins, Lee. “Giannis Antetokounmpo: The Most Intriguing Point Guard in NBA History.” Sports Illustrated 2017: Si.com. 3 Jan. 2017. Web. 17 Jan. 2017. <http://www.si.com/nba/2017/01/03/giannis-antetokounmpo-milwaukee-bucks-greek-freak-jason-kidd&gt;.

Note-A-Bulls: Short-handed Bulls fall to “Rival” New York Knicks 104-89, dropping their 3rd straight game.

Facing familiar faces in Joakim Noah and the now “located” Derrick Rose, the Bulls squared off against the Knicks in 2017’s version of the “Flu Game,” just with a much worse result. The Bulls were without Jimmy Butler, Nikola Mirotic and Denzel Valentine due to the stomach bug and their lack of depth continued to be on display tonight on national television. The Bulls kept close throughout, but their lack of scoring options proved to be their un-doing, a common theme throughout the season. Facing an uphill battle already, the Bulls went into Madison Square Garden undermanned, and left leaving fans with the same sick feeling that sidelined Butler, Mirotic and Valentine.

  • TNT Announcer Marv Albert referred to the game feeling like a “Preseason Game” due to both team’s injuries, illness, and maybe even the sparse crowd at Madison Square Garden. However, in reality, he may have been referring to the actual product on the court, no matter the injuries or health conditions that was cause for concern for any basketball fan.
  • Because of illness the Bulls gave 2016 2nd round pick Paul Zipser his first start of his NBA career. While he looked fairly comfortable on the floor, his first task as an NBA starter was to guard Carmelo Anthony, not the easiest of assignments.
  • The Knicks first basket of the game was a Joakim Noah dunk, which was fitting against his former team who fired their previous defensive-minded head coach Tom Thibodeau.
  • The story in the game and throughout the week was the play of former Bull and league MVP Derrick Rose. Rose, who was M.I.A a few nights earlier after flying home to Chicago, played well against his former team. Rose looked well-rested and explosive at times. While he is still not the player he was that took the league by storm, a few nice drives to the basket, reminded Bulls fans watching and his new Knicks’ fans what he was and still can potentially be.
  • The Knicks started off the game with an 8-0 run, and that was without the biggest bright spot of New York’s season, the injured Kristaps Porzingis. During this stretch and throughout the game the Knicks employed the rare triple-team defensive scheme, to divert the Bulls offensive plans, coming at a surprise to Hoiberg’s Bulls.
  • Due to a shortened bench, the Bulls offense had many moments of stagnation throughout the game. This lack of offense however is unfortunately common even when the Bulls are at full strength. Knicks guard Justin Holiday came off the bench in the 1st quarter to hit back-to-back threes. The Bulls used Doug McDermott as their off the bench scorer tonight, but he went 0-5 from the floor in 16 minutes. The Bulls desperately need more scoring from their bench, especially when they are down 3 players.
  • Watching Joakim Noah and new Bulls’ center Robin Lopez play in the same game reminds many fans how fortunate it is to now have a presence offensively down low, as well as in the rebounding game, as the Bulls continue to be the best rebounding team in the league, despite losing the battle tonight. While Noah (12 Pts, 15 Reb) beat out Lopez (10 Pts, 7 Reb) on the stat sheet tonight, Lopez continues to make his presence known even if it does not show up statistically after every game.
  • The Bulls had an 8-0 run of their own behind Jerian Grant and had scored 16 points off of turnovers in the 1st half but found themselves still trailing 54-51 at halftime.
  • The 2nd half did not turn out any better for the Bulls. They missed their first 13 shots of the 3rd quarter, and midway through the quarter, Dwyane Wade was 3-6 from the field, while the rest of the team was 0-10, meaning they went 3-19, and ended up only scoring only 16 points in the entire quarter.
  • In reference to the Bulls lack of scoring options, Marv Albert noted that the Bulls are the worst 3pt shooting team in the league, shooting 31% and averaging six 3-pointers a game. How does an NBA team average only six 3-pointers a game? Harping on the lack of scoring options and shot creation is not something I want to write about each recap, but it is constant. In 19 minutes, Bobby Portis scored 2 points, Doug McDermott totaled 2 points and Rajon Rondo finished with 4 points. While Jerian Grant (14 pts) and Christiano Felicio (13 pts) both finished with double-digit scoring nights, it is not enough from the bench. The Bulls cannot be satisfied with this performance, and I will be curious to see what moves they intend to make come February.
  • Continuing with Portis, the fact that Fred Hoiberg started Paul Zipser tonight over Portis, reinforces the idea of the lack of development of another Gar/Pax first round pick.
  • At the 3:49 mark in the 4th quarter, Wade accounted for 14 points, while the rest of the Bulls roster had only scored 8 points.
  • Mindaugas Kuzminskas was all the bench help the Knicks needed, as he scored 19 points, followed by Kyle O’Quinn’s 12 points and 11 rebounds.
  • Carmelo Anthony led the way for the Knicks, scoring 23 points, Derrick Rose finished the night with 17 points.
  • To end the game, Paul Zipser was sent back out on the floor over Doug McDermott. While McDermott’s night was not one of his best, Bulls fans and management would expect 1st round pick McDermott to be out on the floor, trying to bring the team back. Yet the Bulls inability to run plays through him and his cold streaks as of late, are more examples of the regressed development for a player that cost the Bulls 2 first round draft picks and the lesser of the Bulls’ 2015 second round pick.
  • Up Next: the Bulls take on Chicago-native Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans Saturday at United Center.

Note-A-Bulls vs. Milwaukee Bucks December 15, 2016: Bulls Forget Fundamentals, Fall to Bucks 108-97.

After an embarrassing loss against Tom Thibodeau and the Minnesota Timberwolves last time out, the Bulls looked to turn the corner against their rivals up north, the Milwaukee Bucks. Unfortunately, the Bulls were no match for a team that is comprised of everything they want to be; young, long and athletic. From the opening tip, the size and athleticism was apparent for the Milwaukee Bucks as Chicago native Jabari Parker and the “Greek Freak” Giannis Antetokounmpo showed just how efficient and exciting the Bucks could be. A future invested in the up-tempo style and shot-creating playmakers appears to be a good route to develop Milwaukee into a contender. However, the Bulls continue to fall behind at addressing the need for true basketball players like the Bucks twosome, and continue to draft athletes, that have lately lacked the necessary basketball skill to go along with it.

  • The Bulls got off to a slow start in the 1st quarter that was emphasized by a missed alley-oop to Jimmy Butler, followed by the speed and length (a theme of the game) of Milwaukee with a Jabari Parker slam dunk to finish the sequence.
  • The Bulls came out very careless with the basketball and by the 9:19 mark in the 2nd quarter; they already had 9 turnovers, which converted into 14 Milwaukee points.  The lack of a true point guard continues to hurt as Rajon Rondo finished the night with 5 points, and 3 turnovers. In analyzing this team I have yet to figure out the Bulls plan in signing Rondo in the first place, as he continues to be a tough fit into their lineup and cannot jumpstart the offense when they need it most.
  • The Bucks missed a tremendous amount of easy lay-ups in the 1st half thanks to misses by big free agent-signing Greg Monroe but the Bulls could not take advantage and found themselves down 64-45 by halftime.
  • When the Bulls cross half court into the offensive zone this season, I have yet to see an actual offensive plan. While I usually only listen to Bulls’ analyst Stacey King for a great sound byte, he actually made a very valid point this evening. Tonight’s focus shifted to the play of Doug McDermott. King talked about how the Bulls continue to put McDermott in the game, yet they do not run plays to get him open. For a player like McDermott, consistency is key. If the Bulls know that he is more of a shooter vs. a shot-creator, then they need to create a package to emphasize that. The Bulls continue to get in the offensive zone and play four corners with the ball, hoping someone eventually gets open. There are rarely any clear cuts to the basket, set plays to utilize specialized players like McDermott, and they are left with a last second effort pick and roll and a forced shot.
  • The Bulls inability to take advantage of a player like McDermott is not unfamiliar. The similar lack of understanding of how to use Kyle Korver comes to mind. While Korver was always a reliable shooter, in  my opinion, he never truly lived up to the Bulls’ fans expectations. But with an offense that barely had any scorers, and lack of a game plan for a specialized catch and shoot player, he suffered. Since Korver left the Bulls after the 2012 season, his playing time increased and his 3-point percentage increased from .435 during his final year as a Bull to  .457 the next year, and .492 in 2014, one of his better years as a member of the Atlanta Hawks. He only averaged 2 more points per game as a Hawk, but his efficiency is what mattered. He was able to be utilized in a way the Bulls could never figure out. This same issue is plaguing the team now, and McDermott, who they traded up to acquire, is now a shell of the shooter he could be. He is never going to be an all-around two-way basketball player, and if the Bulls admit that and begin to understand how to implement him better into their offense, they will reap the benefits.
  • It seems as though there cannot be a recap I write without mentioning Nikola Mirotic. In a game in which big-bodied skill players were the biggest obstacles for the Bulls, the 6 foot 10 Mirotic never saw the floor. I think the Bulls are unfortunately starting to understand that Mirotic may not be the all-around player they thought they drafted. Just like McDermott, Mirotic is becoming categorized as a specialized player. If this is the reality, the Bulls then need to adapt to take full advantage of what he can offer. If he is supposed to be a lights-out shooter, then design plays for him to get open, like the plays that are needed for McDermott. If the Bulls do not address altering their approach and game plan revolving around these two players, their lack of production will continue. The Bulls have nothing to lose if they actively try to incorporate McDermott and Mirotic into their offense. The question becomes if they in fact know how to do that.
  • Again the 3-point percentage comparison was not a contest tonight as the Bucks shot 55 % from behind the arc, while the Bulls shot 26.3 % going 5-19. Early on in this game, Jabari Parker was 3-3 from 3-point land, the team was 7-8 and the Bulls could not find the basket.
  • The ghost of Tom Thibodeau’s past continued to haunt the Bulls tonight, as defense came at a premium. If the Bulls lose a game, an over-reaction is not needed when dissecting every play. However, when fundamentals are forgotten, as they were tonight, there is cause for concern. Defensive switching continued to be a problem tonight, as more often than not the Bulls were late getting around a screen, late covering their man, or double teamed when it was not necessary, leaving a skilled Bucks team to find the open man left alone for the easy basket. If the Bucks can move the ball successfully through a defense behind 39 year-old NBA lifer Jason Terry, your defense has a problem. The breakdowns were many in tonight’s matchup.
  • Because of the lack of defense, the Bucks were able to get a tremendous amount of shots off. While their biggest lead was 27, at around the 7:42 mark in the 3rd, the Bucks had 18 more shots than the Bulls. 18 more scoring opportunities. The lack of defensive points to how that staggering stat was even possible.
  • A rare bright spot again for the Bulls is the play of Cristiano Felicio. While the stats may not reflect it, his 7 points and 10 rebounds continue to impress as he is beginning to make himself into a player to look out for in the post.
  • An encouraging takeaway for Bucks fans is the two-headed monster of Jabari Parker (28 points) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (30 points). These players have tremendous skill, size and basketball awareness. Seeing them both healthy together was exciting, and especially after Parker’s injury it was great to see him make the consistent high-level scoring plays, that made him the #1 recruit out of Simeon and Duke. I never thought I would tell the Bulls to take a page out of the Bucks playbook, but they have found a formula in drafting incredible basketball talent in both Parker and Antetokounmpo.
  • Up Next: The Bulls will get a second chance against the Bucks as they finish the home and home tomorrow night at the UC at 7pm.