Another night, same result for the Chicago Bulls. It was another loss for Chicago as they were pounded by the Orlando Magic 102-89.
Chicago failed to show any form of effort in this game as Orlando hit the ground running and never looked back. As you can guess, the defense was the problem once again. Although Chicago didn't give up a big shooting percentage like they did against Miami, they still gave Orlando's offense too many easy baskets. Once again it was a problem in the paint for Chicago.
Chicago got out rebounded by Orlando in this game 59-48 and the Bulls looked lost on the glass without Taj Gibson. As our commenter statistician Mike From Illinois noted, the Magic's 51 defensive rebounds was the most allowed by the Bulls in a game since at least 1983. It was mainly Aaron Gordon who was dominating on the glass for Orlando as he grabbed 15 boards for the Magic. He also pitched in 13 points as he has been playing impressive since the All-Star break. Ersan Ilyasova and Victor Oladipo pitched in with seven rebounds as well. Nobody on the Bulls had more than six rebounds tonight. Without Gibson, Chicago had to start Cameron Bairstow, a player that doesn't get a lot of minutes and is not very physical of a player when it comes to play in the paint. Combine him with Pau Gasol, who doesn't seem to give a 100% effort when boxing out and you get out rebounded like that.
Other than the obvious lack of effort, the main problem for the Bulls tonight was the lack of quality depth in the frontcourt and it looks like it will be a problem going forward as well. Remember when we were talking about how Chicago had too many players in the frontcourt? Now Chicago is scrambling to find some quality backups after Joakim Noah, Nikola Mirotic, and Taj Gibson went down with injuries.
Two other takeaways
2. Derrick Rose and Doug McDermott both show up.....sort of
If there were any positives to take away from this game, it was the play of Derrick Rose. Rose was the only player to shoot over 50% in this game for Chicago as he shot seven of 14 from the field.
(I know Cameron Bairstow shot 80% from the field but I'm not counting that as a lot of those shots came in the dying moments of the game)
Rose was attacking the basket once again and played the best out of any Bulls player tonight. I know that's not saying anything but he is at least showing the attacking ability he has been showing since Christmas. If there was one bright spot on this Bulls team, it's the play of Derrick Rose.
Doug McDermott also scored double digit points again as he scored 11 for Chicago. He's been absolutely horrible on the defensive end but offensively he's been giving some spark. Oh and he dunked again! Air Doug at his finest.
Out of everyone on the Bulls tonight, the two that played the best were Rose and McDermott. They didn't play the best and yet they were still the best on the team. That's the state of the Bulls right now.
3. Orlando cashed in at the free-throw line
Alongside beating Chicago on the boards, Orlando had a grand time at the free-throw line as well.
The Magic had 22 free throw attempts, doubling up on Chicago's 11, and only missed five of them. Aaron Gordon was the main man at the line for Orlando as he shot eight of ten from the stripe. For a defense as bad as the Bulls, free points like free throws hurt even worse.
Missing Jimmy Butler, who usually is the one player that gets to the free throw line the most, nobody else on Chicago can get to the free-throw line that often. You can throw Taj Gibson and Derrick Rose as two players other than Butler that do this sometimes, but usually it's not the case. We would consider Pau too, if throwing up your arms in the air and screaming while you lose the ball counted.
It was another bad night for the Bulls and the possibility of missing out on the playoffs is looking more and more of a possibility each game. But it may not be a bad thing if they miss the playoffs.