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Second Chance Points: Four Notes From Bulls-Sixers

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Second Chance Points takes a look at Bulls-Sixers from last night, and we don't even mention all the players the Bulls were without!

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Surprisingly, there were some legitimately interesting things to take from Bulls-Sixers yesterday. I'm serious. I'm not delirious from having watched the game twice over -- although, there's a high chance that doing so took prime years off my life expectancy. But I'm serious, some interesting stuff happened -- including but not limited to: Tony Snell playing his worst game as a pro, Kirk Hinrich showing signs of life on offense but getting torched on defense, and Aaron Brooks finally putting a good game together. However, in the interest of my sanity, I'd like to discuss just four things with you. (We can discuss those aformentioned things in the comments, if you'd like.)

1) Philadelphia Three-Pointers

I mean, one would think that shooting 41 three-pointers in a game would speak for itself, but there's so much more going on here. For starters, I actually really like some of the offensive sets Philly runs. They'll set cross screens to counterbalance the spreading on the floor. They'll dupe defenses off that same action to free up driving angles. They'll make the extra pass. Of course, the glaring problem is that while Philly runs real offense, the end result is often inadequate. Like, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute -- a guy who attempted four total three-pointers in 82 games as a rookie -- attempted four three-pointers last night and is a career 29 percent shooter from deep. We'll touch on Mbah a Moute more in a bit, though.

To me, the most apparent thing about Philly is that they run offense with a clear destination mapped out. They know exactly what they want. As an analogy: Philadelphia is like a hitchhiker who has no problem getting strangers to give them a ride, except they end up getting bike rides instead of car rides. They're actually decent at doing the hard part, but miserable at achieving the most important part.

So last night Philly takes a boatload of threes, which is precisely their intention (unbeknownst to Neil Funk). And the most interesting thing to me, by far, is that Chicago -- one of the best teams in the league at defending the three-point line, allowing just 18.7 attempts per game -- was totally content letting Philly take as many threes as they wanted. Tom Thibodeau's defensive game plan enabled Philly to take more threes, and it was absolutely brilliant.

The example I'm about to show you below demonstrates the extreme amount of help the Bulls were giving last night. They didn't simply want Philly to take threes, they were begging them to:

The Bulls did this all night; basically disregarding any player that was one or two passes away from the ball. So if Philly wants to take concession in the fact they got up a bunch of threes against the stingiest three-point defending team in the league, I'd advise to take a step back and recognize that Thibodeau -- a man obsessed with taking away three-pointers -- willingly allowed this to happen. And it all goes back to the lack of talent / shooting on Philadelphia's roster.

Like, on the final play of regulation, Sixers head coach Brett Brown drew up a play which yielded a wide open shot, but that shot was for Mbah a Moute:

That's a terrible play, plain and simple. If the Bulls drew up a play that had Joakim Noah taking a wide open 18-footer at the end of a game -- especially winding up as a miss -- Thibodeau would get slammed for it, guaranteed. So while, yes, I do genuinely like some of what Philadelphia tries to do on offense -- a nice system only works insofar as the ability of the players in it.

2) Nerlens Noel Is A Freak

This kid is something else on the defensive end. His counting stats are approaching historical territory, as Jake Weiner wrote the other day at Today's Fastbreak. Aside from his four steals in the game, Noel tipped, disrupted and deflected five other plays. And that's not counting two plays where Noel should of tallied a block and a steal but was called for fouls that probably weren't fouls. Defensively, Noel is already a game changer in my eyes.

3) Isaiah Canaan's Future

When I watch Canaan, I can't help but think he'd be a useful backup on a playoff team. He's pure, he's got swagger. I like so much about his game on offense. But then when I watch him try to defend, I realize why he's playing on the Sixers and why he's never gotten a real shot to prosper. He's too straight up when he plays defense, his screen navigation skills are subpar at best. I like Canann's game, but I wonder whether or not he'll stick in the league after his time in Philly.

4) Bulls' Post Entry Passes

An ongoing epidemic and something that I think plenty of Bulls fans have noticed this season. Last night, I decided to count the number of unsuccessful post entry passes, and the Bulls finished with six. Unsuccessful is defined by either a turnover or a disrupted pass that resulted in a miscellaneous event (ball gets knocked out of bounds, a broken play occurs, etc). Maybe I'll start keeping a running tally because it seems the Bulls can never conduct this relatively minor task with ease.