(more on the 4 factors box score)
This game was tough to expect a win. The Bulls were not only on a back-to-back on the road, but their rotation is so thin right now it makes that common occurrence even more daunting. And they clearly waned (tired or otherwise) in the 2nd half, scoring only 29 points and missing their final 15 shots from the field.
This game was a bit of a validation on both ends of the court, considering the disparity between the excellent Raptors offense and their terrible defense. With the Bulls playing inversely in that game, it confirmed their defense is this good, and their offense is indeed this bad.
Sam tries to get into the psychology of why the Bulls are in a 'slump', but is it really that? They don't have reliable weapons. Hinrich's never strung together good shooting seasons, and he's had bad starts before, including one so bad in 2007 when it submarined the entire season. Salmons may be the cover of John Hollinger's next book: 'The Fluke Rule'. And we've known that as a team they will never get many inside points, or scoring efficiently with 3-pointers or free throws. I don't see things getting much better, merely hope that at least Hinrich gets back to a career norm, Derrick Rose shows ANY improvement in his scoring efficiency, Deng slowly gets that corner-3 going, and Noah continues to be awesome.
(at any point did you think Noah was out-classed by Bosh? I didn't.)
(Another positive in the game for me was Taj Gibson's jumper. I was very reluctant to believe in his shooting prowess, but while his form and release means it doesn't have much range, it is very quick and he keeps the ball high. That's necessary given his lack of size for the position, and it works.)
Vinny's in a real tough spot here. I honestly laud his short rotation so far this season, it was a worry that he'd force in players who stink, and he's kept things very tight. It hurts tremendously that one of a top 7 is out, but Taj has surprised.
But as the season wears on, and more back-to-backs pop up, it will really hurt. You can tell Brad Miller doesn't quite respond to consecutive nights, and he's yet to miss his usual ten games per season. Luol is playing a ton of minutes. And worse yet is that Pargo and James Johnson are too terrible to see the court. And even worse yet is that the Bulls have almost zero roster flexibility during this season.
VDN likely felt the urgency to start this season selling out early and trying to get as many wins as possible before the circus trip (and Gar Paxdorf's BS tour this offseason regarding this team's chances likely making his seat a bit hot). And before they head on that trip, there's a very winnable game on Saturday, being well-rested and the Sixers coming into the United Center. I expect a win in that one, but some much darker times ahead. Merely keeping their heads above water would do wonders in staying at their projected .500 7th-8th seed result this season.