1) Glad He's Here
Neil Funk, talking about Doug McDermott at the start of the second quarter: "McDermott played five minutes and scored ten points. That's two points per minute." Thanks for the math lesson, Neil. Glad you're here. It seems as though Funk favors McDermott (I've talked about my conspiracy belief on this matter before.) So this only further reinforces my working theory.
Oh, and also, Funk's microphone wasn't working for a solid ten minutes in actual time at the start of the third quarter. Which means I must update my ‘Personally Satisfying Moments In The 2014-15 Season' list:
1) E'Twaun Moore's game-winner against Oklahoma City.
2) The provocative yet indefatigable game Derrick Rose played against Golden State in January.
3) Funk's microphone malfunction putting him in the dark for ten glorious minutes. It didn't even matter that the Bulls had only managed to score three points in that time. It really didn't.
2) Second Chance Points (Awkward)
I knew this day would eventually come, and, well, here we are. Of course, I am not referring to the name of this column but I am in fact referring to actual second chance points. The Hornets absolutely punished the Bulls on the glass, outrebounding Chicago 55-36. Also, Charlotte grabbed 17 offensive rebounds which produced 27 second chance points. That's obviously an absurd amount of second chance points, but I think Charlotte is owed more credit for their relentlessness than Chicago deserves scolding. Nevertheless, it pretty much won the game for Charlotte.
3) Rookie Connection
When I initially saw this play transpire, I wanted to credit Nikola Mirotic for finding a cutting Doug McDermott. However, after watching the play a few times over, almost all the credit goes to Doug, here:
Kemba Walker got switched onto Mirotic on this play, but instead of going up strong, Niko spins and takes an off-balanced fade away. Alertly, McDermott sees his man become distracted by Niko's bad shot selection and decides to cut from the corner, thus netting a layup. For all of his struggles this season, McDermott's shooting a respectable 57 percent at the rim and his overall ability to finish -- when he doesn't get swatted -- has been encouraging.
4) Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
MKG is a legit defensive player of the year candidate, and his job on Aaron Brooks in the third quarter completely shifted the tide in the game. The Bulls couldn't get into any offense without MKG disrupting the play. Brooks was blanketed by Kidd-Gilchrist, which forced the Bulls to revert back to post-iso for Pau Gasol. Making the Bulls dump the ball in the post not only slowed them down, but it made defense easier for Charlotte on the whole.
To go along with shutting down Brooks, MKG also guarded Mirotic for a time during the first half. Which means Kidd-Gilchrist guarded players with a foot of difference between them in height. I mean, the guy successfully guarded a 5-foot-10 point guard and a 6-foot-10 power forward. If that's not defensive versatility, I don't know what is.
5) Pau Gasol's Production By Quarter This Season
Presented and left without comment.
First quarter: 6.5 points / 48.5 field goal percentage / 11.7 minutes
Second quarter: 3.1 points / 51.9 field goal percentage / 5.5 minutes
Third quarter: 5.9 points / 48.8 field goal percentage / 11.8 minutes
Fourth quarter: 2.6 points / 47.1 field goal percentage / 5.6 minutes
6) Mike Dunleavy Setting Screens
I could probably pick pretty much any game this season and find Dunleavy setting an awesome screen on a giant human being, like he is here on Oklahoma City's Steven Adams:
Although his numbers aside from three-point shooting have been, um, very not great since returning from injury --Dunleavy's consistently doing the little things that often go unnoticed on both ends of the floor.
7) Rebounding Woes
Chicago gave up 34 offensive rebounds in these two games over the weekend. They were outrebounded by 38 rebounds total. Since the injuries have piled up, Chicago's gone through periods where one area will just completely escape them. First it was dreadful three-point shooting. Then it was committing turnovers. Now it's rebounding. The injuries, of course, are a built-in excuse. So I don't want totally attribute all the wildly inconsistent play we've seen over the past couple weeks to that. But it's awfully hard not to.
I mean, what we're seeing is a team that's obviously limited and is therefore coming up short in certain facets of the game. This depleted unit simply has a hard time putting a complete game together. Basically -- and this is the first time I've said this since the basketball gods decided to drop the hammer on Chicago -- just get healthy, Bulls.