Two nights ago the Chicago Bulls edged out the title contending Oklahoma City Thunder. Tonight, Chicago's issues from Tuesday's fiasco arose again as the young Timberwolves shut the Bulls out in overtime to win 102-93.
In an all too consistent theme for this Bulls team over the past year, they came out flat with absolutely zero energy against an opponent expected to finish in the lottery come season's end. Drink if you've heard that one before.
In the first quarter Nikola Mirotic picked up two quick fouls to start the game and was non-factor for the third straight game. Meanwhile, the aggression we saw from Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler on Thursday night was nowhere to be found, neither was assertive in looking for their offense early on. Butler's play was especially sloppy out the gate with lazy passes, in which he ended the night with five turnovers.
The second quarter saw the Bulls come out with a little more pace, especially with Rose getting the ball up-court and looking to attack Minnesota's back-ups. Though that didn't last long as Minnesota ripped off a 12-0 run towards the middle of the quarter. Chicago would withstand the run, as the quarter ended in a back-and-forth match. With 10 turnovers, the Bulls somehow went into the half only down one.
But the story of the first half was Andrew Wiggins. The second year man out of Kansas entered the game shooting 1-9 from three, but was able to can three in the first quarter and four in the half. He was sensational on both ends, ending with 22 first half points, 31 for the game, and nearly ending Pau Gasol's career.
The second half was more the same, back-and-forth with the Bulls unable to pull away because of turnovers and general poor play marring much of the contest. But we did see Rose hit his first three of the season! Rejoice! I digress. For the first part of the fourth quarter the Bulls were moving the ball fairly well and playing some stingy defense. But as the starters for Minnesota came back into play things turned as the Bulls who were up 89-83 with just over five minutes left, went 1-11 on their final shots. A Tayshaun Prince running hook past Tony Snell and a put-back from Pau Gasol knotted things up to send the game to overtime.
Minnesota controlled the extra period shutting the Bulls out 9-0, who made one of their final 20 shots. Chicago's offense turned into one-on-one play as they became matadors on the other end. It was an atrocious effort altogether. The Bulls ended the game shooting 35.5% from the field, 34.4% from deep to go with 18 miserable turnovers.
Other Notes and Thoughts:
- Doug McDermott's hot shooting continues as he looks extremely comfortable in Fred Hoiberg's offense. But his defense continues to be a huge issue with him. Minnesota effectively ended the game after Prince back-doored McDermott for an and-1. For him to be a truly effective player for the Bulls he needs to be at least competent defensively.
- Speaking of defense, the Bulls are putrid on that end. They're inconsistent with their coverage in the pick-and-roll, rotations are constantly all over the place, miscommunication, Pau...
Gasol can't guard other good postup C's (Towns and Jefferson have killed him), and can't score on good defensive C's. So play w/ 2nd unit.— Nate Duncan (@NateDuncanNBA) November 8, 2015
- For everything said about Hoiberg's offense being a game-changer, it's been less than ideal. There's no pace right now and too many times we're seeing the offense stagnant much like it did under Tom Thibodeau.
I truly do not understand this team. Their energy and effort is not there on a nightly basis, they're awful on both ends of the floor as well. Right now, the Chicago Bulls are not a very good team, and they have a long ways to go before getting there.
Chicago takes the floor Monday night at 6pm in Philadelphia against the Sixers.