Let’s start with some patented MikeFromIllinois’ stats from last night’s blowout win in Portland:
The 67 total rebounds by the Bulls are the most rebounds by the Bulls in a non-overtime game since at least the 1981-82 season, just missing the 68 rebounds which was done in overtime on November 4th, 2002, against Toronto. http://bkref.com/tiny/sPaQW
The 67 total rebounds by the Bulls are the second-most rebounds given up by the Trail Blazers in a non-overtime game since at least the 1982-83 season.http://bkref.com/tiny/byOXG
You read that correct: 67 rebounds for the Bulls last night. It was another game where the Bulls collected over 35% of the available offensive rebounds. That’s how, in a game where the Bulls didn’t even shoot that well, they can still have such a dominant win.
It was a perfect storm for such an event. The Blazers are second-to-last in defensive rebound percentage. The Bulls are now tops in the entire NBA in offensive rebound percentage. And by a significant margin, too:
Some of this is helped by the Bulls bringing in solid-rebounding guards in Rondo and Wade. And we know Taj Gibson has always been great in this category. But the biggest contributor is Robin Lopez. He’s been playing heavy minutes the past few games, and has become one of the best offensive rebounders in the league.
Per 100 possessions he’s grabbing 6.8 offensive boards. That’s the best mark of his career, and if you filter out guys who aren’t playing big minutes (like Bobby Portis, who rates even higher), he’s third in the league behind only Kenneth Faried and Dwight Howard, and just ahead of Hassan Whiteside.
This is obviously a key for the Bulls offense, and a case where they’re definitely going against league trends elsewhere. Most teams strategically de-emphasize offensive rebounds to help their transition defense, or from a personnel standpoint they go small or at least employ frontcourt players who operate farther from the basket. The Bulls don’t. And as long as they keep getting the ball off the miss, it can work.