So last night sucked. I don’t need to tell you that, you know that. But it’s a weird form of suck. Yes the Bulls technically blew the game but it doesn’t feel like that. To me it feels like an extremely flawed team trying to win games in the playoffs with no scorer. I said this morning, I don’t hate the Wizards, I hate the fact that the Bulls for the 3rd season in a row are unable to score in the 4th quarter when it matters.
Some jumbled thoughts from the game, even though ComEd cut my power sometime in the beginning of OT
-I don’t blame Kirk, I don’t think any true Bulls fan does. Yes he missed that free throw and shot terribly down the stretch but that’s not his fault. A 33 year old Kirk Hinrich should not be your go to option in crunch time. It’s not his fault he was our only guy with energy left and had to be aggressive, it’s the front office for thinking that can actually win in the playoffs.
-Also to add on to the Kirk thing. Kirk being the only guy left with legs is on Thibs. I love Thibs but he mismanaged his subs last night. Rode DJ and Jimmy Butler into the ground. Didn’t bring Dunleavy back in until the game was basically over, played a Defensive rotation when we needed Offense. If Kirk Hinrich is the only guy with legs in the 4th quarter then the Coach needs to get some blame.
-And to add further on the Thibs point, why not bring Boozer back in when you need a bucket? I know why Thibs doesn’t like Boozer in at the end of games but when you can’t make shots maybe going with an all Defensive lineup isn’t the best. Taj is great, but he’s an energy guy, a guy who needs put backs or passes close to the rim to score. Boozer, defensive warts and all, can at least create offensively. He and Dunleavy are the 2 guys on the roster that can play high level offense and they sat for all of crunch time.
-Jimmy Butler needs to get a shot. It’s year 3, I hope it will come, I remain optimistic, but if Jimmy Butler is going to help this team the way he needs to he needs to be able to shoot the ball. Too many times we see a game where he can’t hit anything, last night being one of them. Think about what that looks like when he’s cold. Joakim (can’t create), Taj (can’t create), Butler (can’t hit a shot), Dunleav (can score) and Kirk. If he’s going to be Deng 2.0 he needs to be reliable on offense, right now he isn’t.
-Jo. My god has he been bad offensively this series. Pressing the issue, bad passes, awful shots, all of it. But again, this isn’t entirely his fault. When D-Rose went out Thibs basically changed the entire offense to run through Jo as a point center. It worked great, except when you get to the playoffs and all the opposing team has to do is put pressure on Joakim and not allow him to pass. The Bulls have not adjusted to this. The offense has become a high ball screen, dribble for 20 seconds and take a bad shot, rinse and repeat. It’s brutal to watch.
-DJ. Phenomenal last night but guess what, he’s gone in the off season. People sort of forget that he’s a 26 year old guy who was the 9th pick in the draft a few years ago. He wants to start, someone will probably let him. The Bulls can’t pay him what another team will and simultaneously fix the glaring holes in the roster.
Which leads us to the final point. Carmelo. Do I hate the fact that we’re now basically looking at Carmelo as a savior for this team? Of course, but what are the other options? Tell me, because I have yet to hear one. The Bulls are a team that was built on Defense and one elite offensive player who has not played a meaningful game of basketball in over 2 years. Everyone knows I’ve been the biggest supporter of D-Rose, loyal to a fault, but at this point if you don’t expect the worst and hope for the best with him you’re just being naive. If the Bulls go into next season expecting Derrick Rose will be MVP Derrick Rose and lead this offense that’s a problem. He’s just as likely to get hurt again as he is to be a dynamic threat in this league, that’s a hard reality but it’s the reality. So who do you get besides Carmelo? Because if this series has shown us one thing it’s that you can’t win in the playoffs on Defense and hustle alone. Without a guy who can create you have nothing. The Bulls are learning this the hard way for the 3rd season in a row and it’s beyond frustrating to watch.