MADHOUSE MONDAY: COLUMN 7
Okay, back to business, and there’s a lot to get to. Let’s get started…
Game 14: Chicago at Indiana
The Pacers were still red hot when the Bulls took the ride down to Indy, so it wasn’t pretty. Like, at all. Paul George went off for 33, although Jimmy Butler made George work for every point – which is all you can really ask for – and the Pacers bullied the Bulls inside the paint. On the positive, Nikola Mirotic had a solid game with a season high 25 points, but the Bulls ran into a hot, talented team at the wrong time.
Bulls held Pacers to 38 points in the paint when they met in Chicago last week. Indiana has 20 points in the paint after 9 minutes tonight.— Jeff Mangurten (@JeffGurt) November 28, 2015
Kawhi Leonard was everywhere defensively and had a few plays that made Jimmy Butler look silly. I know the two are compared often as they have similar career arcs, but the biggest difference is just Leonard’s length. He’s so long it allows him to stay with his man even if he’s a step behind and when he’s step for step with the man he’s guarding, you can pretty much forget about getting off a clean shot. Jimmy on the other hand, is a lot more physical and takes a few more risks defensively, trying to jump passing lanes. LaMarcus Aldridge seems a lot more comfortable than he was at the beginning of the year and is turning into the weapon that we all thought he would be with the Spurs. Pau Gasol had a huge game with 18 points, 13 rebounds and 3 blocked shots and was the biggest reason the Bulls won. I have more thoughts on him later, but he at least held his own vs. Aldridge, which is always a good thing.
Great defense by both Rose and Butler on final possession. Bulls win it 92-89. That's their best win of the season to date.— Nick Friedell (@NickFriedell) December 1, 2015
Another Pau Gasol game, another Bulls win. Gasol contributed 26 points and 19 rebounds in his 1,000th career game. Joakim Noah got a lot of run after Nikola Mirotic went out following a hard elbow from Emmanuel Mudiay and added nine points and 11 rebounds. On the other side, Danilo Gallinari had a couple of nice shots and is a player I would love for the Bulls to add around the trade deadline. Good size, can create off the dribble, comfortable shooting from deep or midrange. I think it would really benefit the Bulls to add him into the mix.
The Bulls just can’t seem to get away from those damn, pesky Hornets, huh? The tandem of Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler had a pretty solid game, combining for 44 points. However, Nicolas Batum had a pretty big game, getting 12 of his 24 in the 4th quarter. For whatever reason, and I literally mean whatever reason, the Bulls had some troubles with Cody Zeller, who had 17 points and 8 rebounds. This was the second time that the Hornets got the better of the Bulls this season.
Playing a complete game is a problem for the Bulls. Playing against teams that they’re clearly better than has also been a problem. So combining the two? Yikes. The Bulls had this game gift wrapped with a nice bow on it and somehow found a way to lose it. While they made some attempts to keep it close at the end, it was a disappointing loss to say the least.
Game 19: Chicago at Boston
You see everything I typed above about the Suns game? Yeah, just apply that to the Celtics game. Even worse, the Bulls wasted Jimmy Butler’s career high 36 points. Bad losses compounded with three very winnable games in a row.
Game 20: Los Angeles Clippers at Chicago
DERRICK ROSE TOOK OFF HIS MASK.
Game 21: New Orleans at Chicago
So Derrick looked a lot more like the guy we all fell in love with in the beginning of his career than the maligned, fan dividing player we’ve come to know lately, specifically in this game. More on what this means in a second, but Rose didn’t take any threes and only took one memorable jumper in the game. Of course, that jumper happened to be this beautiful step back game clincher over Anthony Davis.
Week in Review:
The biggest story recently for the Bulls was that Derrick Rose got his haircut as low as he did in his MVP season. Bulls twitter kinda exploded. Seriously.
Laugh of the Week:
The “upgrade” meme has travelled around twitter a lot lately, with people posting pictures of themselves earlier in life (like middle school, which wasn’t kind to any of us) and juxtaposing it to themselves now, where puberty has been good to them. My man Joshua Vinson – great first name by the way – had best tweet of the situation by far.
Hot: Joakim Noah
It might not always show up on the stat sheet, but Joakim Noah is getting close to the way we all remember him. His true rebounding percentage, an estimate of available rebounds a player grabbed while he was on the floor, is at 19.5%, the highest it’s been since the 2009-10 season.
Hoiberg on Joakim Noah taking Anthony Davis off dribble for dunk: "I thought he was going to run in crowd and start chest bumping people."— Cody Westerlund (@CodyWesterlund) December 13, 2015
I’m generally not a fan of giving up on players, given the fact that they’re the best of the best in the world, evidenced by the fact that they’re in the NBA. But it might be time for the Bulls to give up on Tony Snell. Despite the constant playing time, Snell hasn’t shown any confidence in himself on either side of the ball. Once Mike Dunleavy returns from his back injury (whenever that is), Snell might be buried on the bench.
Tony Snell is 1-for-10 for 2 points in his last 53 minutes.— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) December 13, 2015
That number is how many minutes per game Pau Gasol, Nikola Mirotic, Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson are playing, in order. While I understand how well Bobby Portis played in the preseason, how lackluster the Bulls have looked for stretches and the energy that Portis brings, I don’t know who to siphon minutes from to give to Portis. If anything, you might take two minutes each from Gasol, Mirotic and Gibson to give to Noah. It would take a trade to give Portis any kind of real court time.
1 Thing I Think:
So speaking about a trade…it might behoove the Bulls to look into a trade for Pau Gasol. Look, I love Pau. He’s well spoken and really has a ton of respect for the media, which I appreciate. He’s a consummate professional and a great teammate. His post play is still some of the best in the NBA and he’s the first true post presence that the Bulls have had in a long time. When Derrick and Pau get the pick and roll game going, it’s devastating – go re-watch the first game of the Cleveland series if you don’t believe me.
And trading Pau isn’t necessarily about his shortcomings either. He is misfit in this up-tempo offense and was clearly a better fit in Tom Thibodeau’s isolation heavy offense. While he’ll get some blocks, he’s a mess on pick and roll defense. For whatever reason, Pau refuses to consistently block out, which is annoying.
I say that they should look into for a few reasons. First is that Gasol is a free agent and is reportedly looking forward to testing the market. While this doesn’t exactly mean that he’s not returning, the fact that he’s already considering this is a bit eye brow raising. It might be smart for the Bulls to move him and get someone else back instead of losing him for nothing. I’m not saying that the Bulls need to make an urgent push to ship Pau out, but I’d put out some feelers.