It was a good sign to see the Bulls fighting and playing well, especially in a tough environment against one of the top teams in the NBA, but they fell 109-101 to the Spurs at the AT&T Center.
Pau Gasol helped lead Chicago with another double double as he scored 21 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. But he certainly had his flaws in this game and one of them was on the defensive end. Sadly, he was not the only one who had a bad defensive game as the Bulls allowed Spurs power forward LaMarcus Aldridge to have another big game against Chicago.
LaMarcus Aldridge loves playing against Chicago. Every time he suits up against the Bulls he balls out. It's like he is rubbing it in their faces that the Bulls actually traded him away in 2006 draft. Here are his points per game averages against the Bulls in just the last five years of his career.
2015-16 : 25.3
14-15 : 25.5
13-14 : 8.5
12-13 : 23.0
11-12 : 21.0
Aldridge had another big game tonight as he pitched in 26 points and 10 rebounds, shooting 52.6% from the field. Once again, a big that can stretch the floor caused the Bulls problem on the defensive end once end. With the pick and roll with Tony Parker, Aldridge could just easily step out and knock down a shot near the top of the key with ease.
The Bulls also couldn't stop Kawhi Leonard, who had 29 points to lead all scorers tonight. He's just too good and is easily one of the top players in the NBA. But the Bulls could have done a better job against Parker and Aldridge as they had a combined 46 points between them. With the Spurs using them together a lot, the Bulls had to at least make life tough for them, and they didn't.
Two other takeaways
2. Another good game from the Rose-Moore duo
Without Jimmy Butler once again, E'Twaun Moore stepped up and Derrick Rose showed up tonight as well. Moore had 20 points on eight of 12 shooting and also hit four three's as well. Meanwhile Rose had 21 points for Chicago and also had six assists as well. He was matched against Kawhi Leonard and it was no easy tasking trying to score on him. He had a horrible game against Tony Parker defensively as Parker scored 20 points with Rose guarding him.
It was good to see the duo play well as Moore is playing himself to a bigger contract this summer and Rose is showing more and more of his explosive we saw many years ago. Even when Butler comes back, having Moore get some big minutes would be beneficial to the Bulls.
3. Great three point shooting from the Bulls tonight, but not from their usual shooters
Hoiball may not lead to wins but at least it showed it could sort of keep Chicago in games. The Bulls were behind for a lot of this game with an exception of a minor lead in the second quarter. They needed to stay in the game and the three-ball helped them tonight. Chicago shot 50% (11-22) from deep as it kept them in the game for the most part. Moore had the most three's tonight with four and Justin Holiday also stepped up and knocked down two triples.
But the surprising stat that jumps out about this is that Doug McDermott, Mike Dunleavy, and Nikola Mirotic, the three main shooters on Chicago shoot 3 of 11 from three. Dunleavy and McDermott especially, as MDJ went one of five from the field and McDermott only attempted one three-point shot. Chicago needs more from these guys going forward.