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It is what it is, 0-4 against a very easy schedule. And it sucks.

Well, tonight's game was yet another loss. But while I thought they played much better overall, it only got them to the point where they've always been: susceptible to scoring droughts and lost leads. The most glaring time being the final 4 minutes of the game, where the Bulls made ZERO field goals. Just pathetic.

I was at the game, and at least they were productive (again, until the final 4 minutes) offensively, so it wasn't as much as an aesthetic downer as I'd imagine the Philly game was. Some random thoughts from my in-game grumbling and the help of the box score...

(nearly all 'good' thoughts do not include the final 4 minutes of the game)

  • I thought Luol played very well, attacking the soft Clippers frontcourt, especially that slug Tim Thomas. Deng posted up and drew a double-team in his first possession, assisting a Tyrus dunk. For the most part he was attacking inside with drives and getting baby-hooks up before the defense could react.
  • Gordon was again abused by some bad officiating, especially one play where he was clobbered and took a nasty fall. I was worried he would stop driving to the basket altogether, but he did get to the line 7 times. The big hang-up on 'consistency' from him isn't streak-shooting (which I find to be a misnomer altogether), it's getting points when the shot isn't falling. He needs to get his outside shooting back, but while that happens at least he's not giving up on drawing fouls.
  • Overall the team did very well attacking the basket, getting the Clippers into the penalty and holding the game close when the Clippers were shooting out of their minds in the first half. The Bulls were once again cold from the outside (Gordon 4-18 from the field, team 2-9 from three), but at least they weren't settling for jumpers this game.
  • Wallace was reportedly getting his minutes limited, and while he only received 27 minutes it sure felt like longer. Especially in the 2nd half (when the Clippers were actually missing shots) when the Bulls were losing several offensive rebounds while Wallace had cement in his shoes. He was a +5 for the game, and did have a nice block showing some of the old Ben, but now it's come to the point where I'm trying really really hard to cherry-pick his good plays to come up reasons for him to even play. It's getting beyond worrisome.
  • Noah did not have weighted-down shoes, but he wasn't exactly good either in his pro debut, and certainly not smart with 2 horrible jumpers, shots that shouldn't have been taken at all. He also missed a couple layups, which makes him fit right in with the rest of the Bulls frontcourt. I thought that would be fixed this year.
  • Hinrich was abused by Cuttino Mobley in the final few possessions. You could say it happened all game, but at least those were on jump shots. Near then end he'd just post up Kirk and make him look bad. Thabo did a better job, but was a complete offensive dud. I thought he was billed as the polished prospect coming out of the draft.
  • I'll wait for the GameFlow to come up tomorrow for full analysis, but Duhon did have a +8 overall in 12 minutes, and was part of a very good lineup in the 2nd half that got the Bulls the lead. So hooray for that.
  • And of course, as the fan I am, it'll come back to the coach (they're easier to question, naturally). Why did Tyrus Thomas only play 20 minutes, and sit the final 18 minutes of the game? What a complete joke. Thomas looked great wreaking havoc on the slow Clippers frontcourt, getting dunks, getting fouled, getting rebounds, and forcing turnovers. Even  had 5 assists (2 while running the break), and he can't find a spot off the bench for the final 18 minutes. As the Bulls whole offense stagnated to shit in the final quarter, it would've been nice to see their best athlete get a chance to change the downward trend. But as we saw, with or without Thomas the Bulls core players put up complete zeros in the final stretch.

Like I said, this was a game that wasn't a complete disaster like before, but that almost makes it worse. Shots will eventually fall, they'll eventually get wins, and they'll eventually make the playoffs. But if they're not a top seed I consider this year a disappointment, and if the players (and coach for that matter) don't individually improve they're no closer as a squad to a title, which makes this whole regular season seem a meaningless exercise, whether they cobble together some wins or not.