The Chicago Bulls didn't commit a foul the entire first quarter. The Chicago Bulls forced two shot clock violations in the first quarter. The Chicago Bulls didn't commit a turnover the entire first half, for the first time in 15 years. The Chicago Bulls had 14 fast break points in the first half.
If I were to stop there you would assume the Bulls won tonight's game going away right?
Chicago got their asses kicked up and down the floor by the hopeless New York Knicks Wednesday night, 115-107. Chicago, a team supposedly fighting for one of the final playoff spots in the East, got their asses kicked by a team that started Jose Freaking Calderon, Sasha Freaking Vujavic, and coached by Kurt Freaking Rambis. New York shot 15-32 from three. They out-rebounded the Bulls 53-34.
It was an embarrassing, pathetic performance from a team "fighting" for their playoff lives in a nationally televised game on ESPN. The only time that there was a remote sense of urgency from the Bulls came in the fourth quarter when they were already down two touchdowns as desperation mode kicked in. Frankly, and this by no means is a bold statement, but this team has zero business being in the playoffs. New York looked like the team fighting for the final spot in the playoffs. A team that's 15 games under .500 showed more heart and effort than we've seen in recent memory from these Bulls.
Chicago had a seven point lead after the first quarter, 30-23 in a game that was lethargic from the start. From there, New York proceeded to outscore the Bulls 69-43 through the next two quarters, ending with 92 total points as the game entered the final quarter. Sure, a fourth quarter run led by Nikola Mirotic and Derrick Rose gave the Bulls some brief "hope", but in the end it wasn't enough as Chicago had already dug them selves a mile long hole.
From a personnel standpoint, there's obviously something wrong with Jimmy Butler still. He's hurt. Whether he or the Bulls want to come out and say it, it's pretty damn clear. He's not moving well at all on either end of the floor. His shot hasn't been the same since returning from injury, missing both right and left, blowing wide open layups in addition. Since returning, he's shooting 28-77 from the field, 36.4%. Butler isn't close to being 100%...
Odds that Jimmy Butler is found to need knee surgery after the season?— Nate Duncan (@NateDuncanNBA) March 24, 2016
Prior to the game, Fred Hoiberg stated that Butler is dealing with "general soreness." Heh. Knowing the Bulls, once the offseason hits, surely more will come of this, as one can only assume given their history.
The same could be said for Gasol as for Butler. He's been awful since his return, which isn't saying much given his season long performance.
As for Mike Dunleavy, eh, he's been poor on both ends lately, which is hard to say. Offensively, his shot just hasn't been there, and on the other end, his defense has dropped significantly. At some point you do have to wonder about his surgically repaired back and if its starting bother him. But of course, you know we won't hear anything about it until weeks after the season, right?
And then there's Taj Gibson, the heart and soul of this team doing everything he can while playing with an injured hamstring. He started the game off strong, but that quickly dissipated, as he only played 20 minutes, hardly at all in the second half. Presumably due to his hamstring. How much more can he play through?
But hey! Look at Nikola Mirotic having himself a career game tonight! 35 points on 10-17 shooting, 9-13 from long range. His first good game in what seems like months. Whatever.
Chicago plays New York again in the Big Apple tomorrow night.