Knicks 88, Bulls 81: 'twas the game before Christmas Eve...

Pace Eff eFG FT/FG OREB% TOr
Chicago 92.0 88.0 42.3% 11.9 17.0 16.3
New York 95.7 42.9% 17.6 20.4 9.8

 

In the aftermath of Monday nights' debacle (remember? giving up the biggest road comeback in NBA history? to the Kings?) the narrative as to how the Bulls would 'respond' could've played out either way. They would take it as a challenge and show some fire (or something) and come out of the gates well, or they would have an 'emotional hangover' and keep the suck train a rollin'.

It was the latter, so the post-game questions were about the latter (at least VDN didn't cave to that explanation). But it was a ridiculous premise regardless: the Bulls are likely to stink any game, whether it's following an awful loss or not, because they stink. They were playing the Knicks who also aren't very good, so it was still possible they would get a win...but that would also have nothing to do with what happened the night before.

I suppose the fact that the Bulls followed up their 10 point fourth quarter Monday with a 12 point  first quarter the next night was a signal that they were really laying down on VDN, but it's hard to tell when they have an offense that's currently only better than the TWolves and Nets. The type of offense that has to 'surge' in the second half to get to 81 points. Against the Knicks! Same problems: Salmons sucks, Miller looks finished, no outside shooting, no depth.

But that surge may have both extended VDN's job security, yet further indicted his poor coaching. The Bulls didn't quit after being down, and like was said post-game (it was an interesting and long post-game scrum, with the whole thing on TV) by VDN, this team does have 'good guys', who aren't quitters by nature. But they didn't get back with some kind of newfound execution of a rehearsed offense, if anything it was Derrick Rose ignoring it all and taking control of the team in that 2nd half. A good sign for us armchair psychologists of Rose's mindset, but only making one wonder what he'd be like with a real coach and teacher on his side.

But, no, as a team they aren't quitting, though a team can have pride in themselves yet still have no faith in their coach. VDN indicated that a late out-of-timeout possession that saw Hinrich throwing an ill-advised lob to Noah was an audible from Hinrich himself. I'm sure that happens more often than we'd hear on any NBA team, but it's suspicious on this one.

And even more suspicious was this quote from Joakim Noah to KC Johnson:

If you were my friend, I would tell you a lot of things, but I feel like if I say something, it's going to make things really bad.

Certainly could be taken a number of ways (the same number of ways this team is messed up from top-to-bottom), but it's apparent at least one guy doesn't believe in any moral victory gleaned from the 2nd half tonight. Vinny seemed quite content afterward given the calls for his head. It was a game where the Bulls kept playing, he kept coaching (even making the adjustment of giving time to Johnson and Pargo, and promoting Taj and Hinrich to the 2nd half starting lineup), and though it ended up in more losing,  maybe he knows the only way our front office pokes their heads out is if it's a complete quit-job by the team, and tonight wasn't that. Yay.

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