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Second Chance Points: A week's worth of mostly positive notes

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Hey, it was a good week overall. Be happy.

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

As you may or may not have noticed, we skipped Second Chance Points last week after the Indiana game. That, quite literally, was due to technical difficulties otherwise known as my laptop nearly croaking on me. It was a scary couple of days to say the least. The good news is that we're back up and running (and my laptop wasn't beyond repair, woo!), so this edition of Second Chance Points will be an overview of all three games last week. First, of course, starting with Indiana.

Wednesday night: 103-86 Bulls win over Indiana.

1) Chemistry between Joakim Noah and Tony Snell

SB Nation's Mike Prada has, in great detail, covered Noah's best skill on offense: turning dribble hand-offs into de facto ball-screens. Nobody in the league is better at this than Joakim Noah. Nobody. The thing of it is, though, is that Jo seems to be extra motivated when Tony Snell is the man he's freeing for a shot. That's not to say Jo isn't working as hard to get other teammates open, because that's certainly not true. Noah's averaging a tick under eight assists over his last thirteen games. But it is to say that Snell and Noah have developed a unique chemistry on the floor, and it's worth noting:

It's also especially awesome because I think we all distinctly remember Joakim SMH-ing the hell out of dreaded Tony.

2) Bulls quick-hitter

More or less, this is just to stick it to those who believe Tom Thibodeau doesn't concern himself with offense. Leading up to this play, Indiana scored on a fast break layup coming courtesy of a Kirk Hinrich turnover. Instead of Thibs going berserk on the sideline, he dials up this quick-hitting play which I have not seen the Bulls run all that often this season:

First of all, Mike Dunleavy does a fantastic job ducking / jabbing as though he's going to loop around the pair of screens waiting for him on the wing. He dekes out his defender wonderfully, true veteran wit. But also, here's Thibs calling out the play:

This might seem inconsequential, but it's the type of thing that often goes undetected to the naked eye in real time. Plus, it goes to show that Thibs cares about offense sometimes! And I'd like for the record to be stated as such, is all.

3) E'Twaun Moore is legit on defense

I have supreme faith in E'Twaun Moore on the defensive end as an on-ball defender. He has a keen understanding of how to track his man when involved in pick-and-roll. Also, he's really good at keeping his arms raised, which can cause a deflection that turns into a steal, like in the example below:

Moore plays defense like he's a few inches taller than his 6-foot-4 frame would suggest because he's able to simultaneously slide his feet and keep his hands up. At this point, Moore is basically everything Kirk Hinrich was supposed to be coming into the year. He's a defensive pest that, above all else, deserves playing time due to his work on that end of the floor alone. And his offense, while nothing to write home about, won't ever put the Bulls in a bind because he's a pretty decent shooter. And, you know, he's periodically good for stuff like this.

Friday night: 108-92 win over Toronto.

4) The Raptors ignoring Jonas Valanciunas

I'm not sure if this is something that's become symptomatic in Toronto or not, but it certainly was noticeable on Friday night. Unfortunately, I haven't caught many Raptor games this season (I have family ties to Toronto and they're my second favorite team in the league), but, like, it sure seems as though Friday night wasn't an anomaly. I mean, beyond the fact Valanciunas had only one shot attempt and 24 total touches in 24 minutes of action, were the Raptors unaware that he was a problem for the Bulls the previous two times they've played this season? I know Dwane Casey has a hard time trusting Jonas on defense, but the guy is too talented on offense to be getting Hansbrough-level touches.

5) Forgot About Pau

Joakim Noah is, rightfully, grabbing all the attention for his passing as of late, but I'd like to show Pau Gasol a little love:

At times, the Bulls can be one of the best passing teams in the league. Right up there with the Atlantas and San Antonios of the world.

6) Niko The Gunner

There's credence to the notion that Nikola Mirotic can be a bit of a gunner. I present, Example A:

In the example above, Niko first and foremost launches a three that's a good three or four feet beyond the three-point arc. That's a no-no. Secondly, making the extra pass to Tony Snell is the right play to make here as -- by indicated in the arrow in the screen-shot -- Snell's man is way too far to recover in time, thus forcing the rest of the Raptors' defense to over-help. Finally, although the cameraman couldn't capture the Bulls player who shall remain unnamed standing in the corner within the frame of the screen, I'll let you use your imagination and figure out who it is.

7) Where's Taj Gibson?


Saturday night: 107-91 loss to Detroit.

8) Tony Snell's Inconsistencies

As you may have noticed, Snell was nowhere to be found against Detroit. A nonexistent offensive output and a mistake-filled defensive game. Overall, not a banner night for the young second-year wing. If it's starting to feel like Snell has a tendency to have a no-show game every so often, well, it's because it's true. Back on Mar. 5 he scored four points in 29 minutes against Oklahoma City. On Mar. 8 he was held scoreless against San Antonio in 29 minutes. Then on Saturday he scored two points in 36 minutes.

The important thing to remember, of course, is that Snell's still just a second-year player going through second-year growing pains. For the most part, Snell's a spot-up shooter that's better at moving without the ball than he is with it. Snell can't really create offense for himself, or others for that matter, but he's not completely useless off the bounce. In the bigger picture, though, Snell's progression is ahead of schedule. If we were to consider next season for just a moment, it's fair to say Snell's forced his way into a legitimate discussion over whether or not he should be starting. And that's before we discuss what to do with Mike Dunleavy's pending free agency.

So while, yes, Snell has games where you'll completely forget he's on the floor, he's made a positive leap this season and is currently being asked to do more than he's probably able to on offense at this stage of his career. Which, lest we forget, is something we said about Jimmy Butler last season.

9) Spacing

On the whole, the Bulls have done a really good job at spacing the floor lately. Essentially, the Bulls break the floor into thirds and Joakim Noah has free reign in all three, which basically dictates where Pau Gasol will be stationed on a given possession. If Noah is at the top of the key, Gasol's probably around the blocks. If Noah is on the wing, Gasol can likely be found by the opposite elbow. Say the two get stuck on the same side of the floor -- not a problem -- the Bulls just turn the play into an overload post-dump for Pau and space properly with shooters on the other side of the floor.

With Gasol in the game, Noah's the most unconventional stretch-four ever. He still requires tight air space due to his various methods of passing. What I like most though is that, unlike earlier in the season, the spacing is almost always pretty good when Noah and Gasol share the floor these days. The unfortunate thing is that the Bulls, as presently constituted, have exactly one guy who can take advantage of the driving lanes that are readily available. Aaron Brooks is shifty, but his lack of size often makes taking the ball to the basket an unrewarding endeavor. Mike Dunleavy isn't going to beat his man one-on-one, neither is Kirk Hinrich. And we just touched on Snell.

The Bulls' best player off the bounce right now is Nikola Mirotic. And so long as Jimmy Butler and Derrick Rose are out, that'll remain unchanged.

10) Post Entry Passes

Post entry passes are never a problem until they become a PROBLEM. Such a remedial task that, with some frequency, the Bulls simply cannot complete. Against Detroit, the Bulls failed to execute on seven post entry attempts, with over half resulting in turnovers. Such a weird thing that I'd be perfectly OK with never having to mention again.