That game thread got out of control early, so I'll start in a new one with some post-game thoughts. Before I get started, this is just one game and I don't understand the need to extrapolate any of it into the season or franchise direction as a whole. Nothing you saw tonight should change one's thoughts on the team's direction one way or the other.
- Last thing first: Skiles sat on his hands for the last 5 minutes and overtime. It was Nocioni at the PF for too long of a stretch, and that just kills the team rebounding. If you want to get 'tough' rebounds, don't play 'tougher', put in better rebounders. Sure, after struggling all game, Noc hit some big shots at the end and was the only one converting in OT, but I don't want him taking shots in overtime anyway.
- To pick on the 5-year man some more, he was part of that clusterfuck that was the final play of regulation. He waited too long to set the screen, and then couldn't wait to run towards the basket, making his contribution to the play was bringing a second defender towards Ben Gordon. And that ended as well as expected.
- Tyrus had a tough go in his opening stint, getting two quick fouls. He also missed a few easy conversions that he'll usually make. But he was still on the floor during the Bulls best stretch, and didn't seem to make too many mistakes overall. I was disappointed we didn't see him more, or Joe Smith for that matter. Skiles seemed to have always have Smith in without pairing him with Wallace or Tyrus, and that's yet another bad rebounding combination, but offensively Joe looked quite good.
- Ben Gordon had a phenomenal third quarter shooting the ball, and while I'd normally complain that he didn't get to the line quite enough, I acknowledge the possibility that he was sick of getting jobbed by the officials on a lot of contact plays. Put his drives next to Vince Carter's, and there was a clear discrepancy in how they were called.
- The Luol-post option went alright, but there wasn't enough of it. Especially in overtime when it was the Noc show. There was also a play when Luol was able to dribble the length of the court with a man tailing him and finish, a situation that in years past would've likely wound up a turnover.
- I thought Skiles had pretty good rotations overall until the aforementioned final lineup. Joe Smith was the first frontcourt player off the bench, and Thabo the first backcourt player. Of course when Thabo got two turnovers in a row late in the first half you could hear the doghouse door open. Duhon actually had a decent game, and it was needed considering the foul trouble Hinrich was in all night. But we even got a glimpse of the tiny-ball lineup, which I thought had been destroyed in Mt. Doom. "Duhon + Richard Jefferson = success" is written on the dry-erase board of the locker room.
- The worst part about having no 'go to scorer' is that they should at least be giving the ball to Deng and Gordon to give them any opportunity to become that. Instead we received a heavy dose of Nocioni and Ben Wallace.
- Ok, so would Kobe Bryant have helped the free-throw discrepancy, and given a better option on the last possession? Sure. But it's not just Ben Gordon for Kobe Bryant, so don't react like it's that simple. [UPDATE: Oh man, how predictable.]
- Antoine Wright? What the hell?