The Bulls had a nice bounce-back victory against the Miami Heat last night following their loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday. As YFBB mentioned in the recap, it was a game Wade desired to win badly given all of his history with the opposing franchise. Here are a few things I noticed from the victory:
Good: Rajon Rondo Played His Best Game Thus Far
Rondo has been public enemy #1 among Bulls fans thus far when it comes to finding a scapegoat for losses, but had Chicago fallen last night, it would have been difficult for fans to put the blame on him. Rondo scored 16 points on 6-14 shooting from the field while finishing 4-7 around the basket and hitting his only attempt from distance. He also led the Bulls in both rebounding and assists with 12 and 6, respectively.
Defensively, Rondo’s still leaving a lot to be desired. However, he did finish with two steals, one of which came at a critical moment of the game that—followed by one of the most heart-attack enducing passes you’ll ever see—eventually led to some key third chance points down the stretch:
I don’t know if we can expect to see this type of Rondo often this year, but if he at least attacks the basket going forward in the fashion he did this evening, I think I can avoid hurling explitives at him every time he checks into the game.
Bad: Robin Lopez is Not an Offensive Centerpiece
Duh, right? Look, Robin Lopez has been pretty solid thus far. I know that sounds ridiculous to say given Hassan Whiteside had a 20/20 game, but everything Bulls fans complained about Pau Gasol not doing last season, Lopez does very well.
That being said, there is absolutely no way that Robin Lopez can take twenty shots in a game and lead the team in field goal attempts if the Bulls want to run a consistently great offense. With two and a half minutes left in the third quarter last night, Lopez had as many shot attempts as Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler COMBINED. I’ll give him props for shooting 2-4 from outside the paint, but he also shot a ghastly 4-12 from outside the restricted area.
To his credit, Lopez was much more conservative with his shots down the stretch and allowed Jimmy Butler to take the game over when the Bulls needed to hold the lead. But the hookshots from 8+ feet out cannot happen with the volume that they did tonight, as that siphons away shots that the Bulls’ main scorers should be taking instead (Butler had only six total field goal attempts at one point well into the fourth quarter).
Wild Card: Dwyane Wade is a Treasure, But Can’t Afford to Play Back-to-Backs
Dwyane Wade has been an absolute pleasure to watch this season. Sure, this is vintage Flash, but how many 34 year olds do you know with this kind of acrobatic ability?
Unfortunately for Chicago, Wade didn’t have that kind of spring in his step for most of the evening, finishing 5-17 shooting from the field and 0-4 from the perimeter. Can you guess why? Wade played 34 minutes Wednesday night in a game the Bulls were inevitably going to end up losing to the Hawks, and he followed that up by playing 32 minutes tonight. Father Prime was obviously going to play last night given it was his Miami Heat homecoming, but he probably should have sat out Wednesday’s game.
I know I said before the season started that Wade could very well play in 70 games this season, but he’s not going to get there if the Bulls aren’t smart with managing his workload. In two games on the second night of back-to-backs this season, Wade is shooting 6-26 from the field (0-6 from 3-PT range) and has only five freethrow attempts. If the Bulls want Wade to have enough gas in the tank when the postseason begins to loom, they need to manage his playing time more carefully. That responsibility falls on Fred Hoiberg, Chip Schaefer, and the rest of the training staff.
Bonus: The Worst Uniforms EVER?!?!?
Oh. My. Goodness.
Look, I’m all for honoring the troops on the eve of Veterans Day, but these have to be some of the most horrendous uniforms to ever make their way onto an NBA floor.
Drab olive? Check. Clashing bright red? Check. Boxes around the last names? Check. Different main colors on the jersey and shorts? Check. Disjointed reference to the American flag? Check. Numbers on front and back different colors? Check. Fallen service member reference so small to the point that it looks more like an illegible advertisement? You betcha.
BaB member BULLS_Till_I_DIE summed it up perfectly in the gamethread:
Anyway, the Bulls will play next on Saturday night at home against the Wizards.