This game sucked from the very opening and it never got better. There were a lot of continued trends in this one that should give some reason for worry. The Bulls got off to a typically slow start in the first quarter. Derrick Rose played terribly again. Joakim Noah moved poorly and didn't play well again. Pau Gasol struggled against a physical post defender. The Bulls played down to a weak opponent at home. Every single Bull played worse than they are capable. It was a nightmare.
From the very first seconds of the game, the Bulls looked low energy and lackadaisical. It started with Rose, who went 0 for 9 in the first half and just seemed listless. The offense was stagnant, the movement that's come to characterize this year's version of the Bulls was totally absent. With Rose's shot, and even his layups, not falling, the Bulls turned, as they often do, to Pau Gasol. But in place of Pau's usual solid post effectiveness and whipping ball and man movement orbiting around Gasol there was instead the clogged toilet offense of every Bull standing around after forcing the ball into the post to Pau & watching him be stifled over and over again by the Jazz's monster big man, Rudy Gobert. Gasol finished with 13 points on 13 shots to go with 6 rebounds in 26 minutes and it was even worse than it sounds. Joakim Noah was similarly beaten down by Derrick Favors as he went 0-3 from the field and only grabbed 7 rebounds. The Jazz absolutely murdered the Bulls on the glass, but you might not know it from looking at the raw rebound totals. The Jazz had 48 boards to the Bulls' 43, but the Bulls missed 56 shots to the Jazz's 41.
Kirk Hinrich played 25 minutes and scored 0 points. He shot 0 for 5 from the field and 4 of those attempts were uncontested, per SportVU tracking.
Jimmy Butler was largely held in check by Gordon Hayward and even got super swatted in the paint by the Butler product at one point to add insult to injury. Jimmy still had 16 points on 13 shots and 11 rebounds and a couple of steals and assists in his 33 minutes, but he wasn't nearly as effective as he has been all year.
Nikola Mirotic went 1 for 7 and was just generally ineffective on both ends for most of the night, which was pretty disappointing as it seems like he's on the cusp of totally earning Coach Thibodeau's trust.
Taj Gibson was the only Bull who scored somewhat efficiently, as he got 15 points on 10 shots, but he also only grabbed 6 rebounds in 30 minutes. Still, I could have done with seeing more of Taj and less of Pau in this one, as Pau was totally and completely dominated by Rudy Gobert. That's picking nits, though, and frankly, given how badly everyone played in this one, I'm not sure there's anything Thibs could have done to change the outcome.
One lone silver lining from this game was that it marked the continuation of Tony Snell looking pretty competent in his time on the floor when the game was still in doubt. He was making hustle plays, he didn't look out of place on offense or defense, and he just, generally, looked like he belonged out there. Progress.
Noah and Rose's continued poor play has become more and more worrying as games pass without any sign that they are close to righting their respective ships. The Bulls have been lucky that Pau Gasol and Jimmy Butler have been around to mask the Bulls previous most important players being pretty awful. Tonight, Gasol was also awful and Jimmy was less than the superman that he's been. When that happens, this team can lose to the freaking Utah Jazz by 20 at home. (I'm insulting them here, but credit to the Jazz for the big win, and especially to Gobert, he is an absolute defensive wrecking ball).
It's a long season and hopefully this is just a bump in the road where everyone played badly for Chicago and everyone played well for Utah. When Trevor Booker is hitting one legged fadeaway shots against you, it's probably not your night. Let's hope this is the last such night of the season and never speak of it again.