December 22, 2009
Tyreke Evans(notes) and the Kings rallied from 35 points down in the second half to edge the Bulls 102-98 on Monday in the biggest NBA comeback in 13 years. Here's what they're saying out in the ether about the Bulls' epic collapse ...
By The Horns: "My mind is still boggled by what happened. The Kings committed their fifth personal foul with 7:45 to go in the fourth quarter, which meant the Bulls would be shooting free throws on every foul from that point forward. After Salmons knocked down his freebies from that foul, Chicago was still up 94-79. All the Bulls had to do to secure the win was be aggressive, attack the basket, and force Sacramento to foul them. You want to know how many foul shots they earned in the next seven minutes? Four. And they missed two of them. Instead of pressing their advantage, the Bulls got sloppy. How sloppy? Chicago gave up 23 points off 20 after the first quarter. They committed nine of those turnovers in the fourth quarter, including two shot clock violations, a three-second violation and a carry."
Blog a Bull: "The team is just poorly coached all around. They were able to (literally) run out to a lead off of Sacramento's first-half turnovers, but when it came time to run a real offense they had no clue. When it got close, one team knew they had a star guard who needed the ball at all times, and how to get it to him in the best place to operate, and that guard was Tyreke Evans and the team was the Kings. They similarly seemed to have little clue on defense as to how to handle Evans besides putting their 'stopper' (cough) Kirk Hinrich(notes) out on an island. But it's even bigger than that. VDN sees the need to keep the starters in because he was given such a deplorably incompetent bench. They pretty much have to go small (and it cost them some key defensive boards) due to a lack of depth as well (though if Tyrus Thomas(notes) was healthy, he'd likely still be sitting). Everyone knows that Derrick Rose(notes) is the future star of this team, yet he's not even made a captain."
Dime: "In all honesty, we'll be surprised if Vinny Del Negro still has a job by the time the Dime crew makes it up to Madison Square Garden tonight for Knicks vs. Bulls. Just when you thought the Bulls were getting their act together and had put together some well-played games, they went out on Monday and - whatever you want to call it - did something that deserves a new word other than "collapse." If it doesn't ultimately cost Del Negro his job, it at least has the hot seat burning a hole in his drawers. (And remember, this is the same organization that fired Scott Skiles on Christmas Eve a couple years back. Don't think Del Negro can use the holidays as a stay of execution.)"
Ken Berger, CBSSports.com: "Firing the chef and appointing the guy who bought the groceries is the new fad in the NBA. The Hornets did it, sending GM Jeff Bower into the trenches to replace Byron Scott. The Nets did it, handing the keys to Kiki Vandeweghe — and, ironically, former Bulls assistant Del Harris — after throwing Lawrence Frank overboard. Why not the Bulls? Why not Paxson, who relinquished the day-to-day GM duties to Forman last summer? 'I doubt it very much,' said a person familiar with the Bulls' situation, citing how Paxson's relationships with certain players are frayed. But at least he has relationships with certain players. How can Del Negro command respect in the huddle — and vice versa, frankly — after what happened to this team Monday night?"
Ziller, NBA FanHouse: "... yes, Del Negro did take a bunch of fourth-quarter timeouts that only resulted in worse execution. But this is really a dark mark on all the Bulls who played that final stretch, except for perhaps Deng, who did all he could to limit Evans. Before Udoka's 3s, Kirk Hinrich effectively dribbled out a 24-second violation in isolation, one of the worst turnovers I've seen this season. Derrick Rose (who was brilliant early in the game) faced tough defense in the closing frame, but still had the means to get his team a couple baskets. Evans delivered in the end, proclaiming 'This is my house!' after the jumper to put the Kings up three. Careful viewers of Reke's reaction to his own game-winner at the Bradley Center Saturday will note that at that point he said 'This is my city!' So Evans, 10 weeks into his NBA career, has now claimed the city of Milwaukee and the United Center. That's two-thirds of a Monopoly, y'all! Get them hotels ready!"
MPS: "Sometimes you just can't analyze, or moan, or complain. What happened happened. Sometimes you just bow to the Basketball Gods and realize that for one night, no matter how much you thought it was yours, it was not. That, sooner or later, the odds - those incredibly slim odds - of such a moment happening in the game of basketball, in life, will show up at your doorstep, and you just have to accept your fate."
Deadspin: "... I think the state of the Bulls is not summed up by the home fans booing them off the court following this putrid fourth quarter collapse, but the AP game note that claimed Andres Nocioni(notes) 'was one of the Bulls' most popular players of the post-Michael Jordan years.' Andres Nocioni? That is quite a lifeline to be stretching out for."
Nick Friedell, ESPNChicago: "How do you blow a 35-point lead? In the third quarter? Against a team that you have been completely dominating all night? Those are the questions that the Bulls have to answer now. Those are the ones that will haunt them for the foreseeable future after the Kings came back to stun them 102-98 on Monday night. And, ultimately, those are the questions that could Vinny Del Negro his job. 'It's tough,' the embattled Bulls coach said after the game. 'We had it going pretty well in the first half. We just stopped being aggressive. Stopped moving the basketball in the third quarter I thought. It kind of just got contagious.'"