(more on the 4 factors box score)
After knowing the result, I can't say I paid too much attention when watching the DVR'd game Saturday. From what I could tell, Noah and Tyrus looked pretty good (though it'd be nice if Tyrus could finish once when fouled), so that's a good sign. Brad Miller was able to give a forearm to Rondo's face, so good on that. And the Bulls had a lot stacked against them considering it was a second night in a row for them, and they were on the road against possibly the best team in the league. Derrick Rose likely felt the ankle injury more in this game than in the opener, as we'll have to peg some excuse as to how Rajon Rondo absolutely dominated the game.
Overall, the Bulls were crushed. Salmons/Deng/Hinrich shot 8-31, and as a team they had their second straight abysmal performance from beyond the arc (2-15). They were able to draw fouls but this offense is in deep trouble when they don't hit jump shots.
A win certainly wasn't expected, but I said going into the game that we could tell if anything was fundamentally different about this season if they merely kept things close. But nope, they were finished off pretty early, and spectacularly in the 3rd quarter.
It doesn't mean they're especially bad, but that all the talk after the opener about this team being so cohesive and happy won't make up for their talent deficiency against the better teams. They lack players able to score against tough defenses, and while I do think they'll prove to be a better defensive team this year it certainly showed last night it'll be a work in progress.
They're average. They'll lose nearly half their games and sometimes look really bad doing so. That's why it would've been nice for Luol Deng to hold off on the hands-across-the-world talk until they were more than one game in. Or the quotes from Doc Rivers pregame about how they 'fit' better. Even during the game the ESPN telecast had Bill Simmons sit in to pump his book, and he mentioned how he liked the Bulls as a contender for the 4th seed because 'they look like they get along'.
Well it didn't prevent them from getting blown out that night, and it won't in the future. What will is being better, not feeling better.
A more appropriate test will be Sunday against a fellow fringe playoff contender in Miami. Maybe the commentary will be less about smiles-per-minute and more about the ball-going-into-the-hoop-thing.