Even after watching this game again, it's still hard to wrap my head around what actually happened. I went from wanting Tom Thibodeau fired by halftime to wanting to kiss the man before the fourth quarter started. Like, a 30-point swing in 14 minutes? That never happens. And if it does, it probably happens to the Bulls -- remember the Detroit game a few weeks back? We don't really need to state the obvious -- the Bulls played terrible in the second quarter, then played amazing in the third. In other news: water is wet -- but I'd still like to share a few thoughts with you.
1) Jo :(
I really, truly don't want to keep harping on this, but Joakim Noah is playing hurt. And in turn, one forgettable season. However last night when I saw this play happen live I thought to myself: this is the play. This is the Jo we've seen -- when he actually tries to score -- all in one play. He catches the ball on a fast break, but since he has no explosion anymore, he's forced to retreat his dribble. Then, he makes a pretty good move to create space but can't finish, which has been his Achilles heel all season:
Poor Jo, man.
2) Tony Rena Snell, Jr.
First of all, Rena? That middle name makes me like Snell even more than I already do, and I didn't think that was possible. But to the point, Snell was just superb defensively last night. He held Dwyane Wade to one of his worst shooting nights ever (4-20), and if that doesn't put Snell back in the rotation, then I truly do not know what will. Also, D-Wade's put up over 21 points a game on 53 percent true shooting this season. Now, that looks weak in comparison to other seasons in Wade's storied career, but that's still really impressive. I mean, Wade's numbers are not that far behind Jimmy Butler's numbers this year offensively.
Oh, and one more thing, I'd like to give Snell credit for sparking Chicago's third quarter onslaught with his transition dunk and three-ball. From there, Derrick Rose carried the brunt work of the run, Mike Dunleavy and Aaron Brooks brought the game home, and then Nikola Mirotic made sure the Heat were buried.
3) Derrick Rose's Shooting Form
Good news: Rose was much more aggressive last night, he forced fewer threes and he even got to the elbows for a couple of mid-range jumpers. Bad news: Derrick's body / shooting form:
I'm not going to sit here and question whether or not Rose has worked on his shooting mechanics given all the time he's had to correct flaws over the years. We've gotta take him at his word on that, which is a treacherous endeavor, I realize. But, I mean, just look at his body on that shot. He's basically slanted in midair. He's fighting his body to get this shot up, and it's only from mid-range! We've seen him fight his body on some of his rushed three-point attempts earlier in the season, but never this bad on a mid-range jumper. He's usually pretty balanced when taking shots from this range, which is why we all beg of him to shoot from closer distance more often. But man, he was all out of whack on this jumper.
4) Tom Thibodeau, You Dog
Friend of the community and regular Blog-a-Bull poster, The Hungarian Jordan, has brought this to my attention, and I'd like to credit him for it. Check out how the Bulls have been blitzing pick-and-roll the past few games -- a trick Tom Thibodeau has had up his sleeve all along? -- as this is something we've not seen a whole lot this season:
Then, as you'll see below, they did it again last night against Miami:
The only thing I'll add is another element of blitzing, which is shown at the end of the vine above by the screen-shot I capture:
What you see here is Derrick Rose "tagging" Hassan Whiteside as the roaming third defender help. Essentially, blitzing pick-and-roll relies as much on the third defender tagging the roll man as it does crowding the ball-handler. The reason for that is because the roll man is the safety valve for the ball-handler, and the defender whose responsibility it is to tag must slow the roll man, which enables the additional help around the rim to properly rotate in time. It's all an effort to ensure the defense's timing isn't completely thrown off by dedicating two men to a trap at the start of the sequence.
So yeah, Thibs is mixing in some different coverages -- the Bulls are also hedging a lot more lately -- right before the postseason. He's tinkering with things on defense, which is an encouraging sign for sure because what we've seen all season sure as hell ain't gonna get it done in the playoffs.
5) Oh My
Brought to you by Taj Gibson and Kirk Hinrich in the magic of six-second video format, here's the Bulls' second quarter last night and all of our collective frustrations encapsulated: