After a horrible performance against the Hawks, the Chicago Bulls bounced back with a late win against the Sacramento Kings. It was due to one of those phantom calls that you can possibly label as a superstar call but even then it’s hard to justify it.
This was a game where DeMarcus Cousins absolutely dominated, scoring a game high 42 points and grabbing 14 rebounds. He was the Kings only offense on the court, the only player on the team to score in double digits. With Sacramento scoring 99 points total, Cousins accounted for 42.4% of his teams total points and add a little more with the 3 assists he had. Taj Gibson had an interesting comparison to guarding Cousins:
Taj Gibson on guarding DeMarcus Cousins: "I don't know what fighting an alligator is like, but it must be just like that."— Cody Westerlund (@CodyWesterlund) January 22, 2017
If not for some late drama, this could have been a Kings win and it would’ve been all thanks to Cousins, who has been carrying the team all season.
This was the second game in a row that Chicago struggled to contain a focal opposing offensive player. It was Cousins for Sacramento and guard Dennis Schroder against the Hawks on Friday.
Both were able to go off thanks to Chicago’s bigs having trouble going out and guarding space. With Cousins, it was trouble to guard him when he stepped out of the paint and knocked down jumpers. For Schroder, it was using Paul Millsap in the PNR game that gave Chicago numerous problems.
Using Millsap in the pick and roll gives an offense numerous options. Millsap can obviously roll to the basket and can also step out and knock down from the outside (44.5% field goal shooting). With the Bulls having to respect Millsap, it gave Schroder time to create his own shot. Like in the video below:
Here Schroder gets a screen to his left and forces Gibson to make a decision on whether to stick with him or go back to Millsap. By the time Gibson makes a decision, which he chooses to stick with Millsap, Schroder is already in the paint and is a step ahead of Michael Carter-Williams who is trying to switch back. With MCW on his hip, Schroder was able to get to the basket with ease and lay it in.
With his quickness and ability to force Chicago’s big into making tough decision on defense, Dennis Schroder was able to carve up Chicago’s defense.
Good back to back games for Paul Zipser
Saturday was one of Zipser’s best games (or the best) as a Bull. He scored 13 points with a majority of them coming from the three-point line. Chicago needs more spacing and some youth at the wing position. Zipser won’t be the answer to everything Chicago does but it is still a positive when he does produce and have good games like this one. Especially when he is stretching the floor with his shooting.
It was the second of two good back to back games for the rookie. He’s quickly showing signs of improvement and is becoming more confident in his game offensively. Like when he dunked against Atlanta.
Against a bigger man in Millsap, Zipser was able to get him off his feet with a pump fake and went right past him. Then it was a fairly easy path for a dunk. If Zipser can keep playing like that, he should be in line for more minutes. Offensively he looks competent and he’s giving Chicago a threat from outside, something that the Bulls are still looking for. He still needs some work defensively but he hasn’t made any glaring errors as of late. That also is a positive for the Bulls, who need some better wing defenders other than Butler. If the Bulls can get some defense from the likes of Zipser, Doug McDermott, and even Nikola Mirotic, it can go a long way in helping the Bulls defense.
Hopefully Fred Hoiberg doesn’t mess up his minutes and give him DNP-CD’s in the next couple of games. Young players need consistent minutes to develop and right now Hoiberg is not it to them.