December 17, 2008
I don't think this is the Cook County birth certificate in me that is telling you that this should be an embarrassing loss for the Bulls. I mainly feel safe in that declaration based on the idea that the Bulls hardly feel embarrassed about anything, these days, as evidenced by their passive play.
Poor execution, and poor coaching for Chicago in the loss. Blame me for continuing to beat the drum, but Tyrus Thomas (22 and nine rebounds, two blocks, zero turnovers) and Joakim Noah (seven points, six rebounds in 15 minutes) helped Chicago pull away at times, but both saw limited action in a fourth quarter that they should have had a huge hand in. Noah played just 40 seconds before being removed for the rest of the contest, while Thomas lost his seat after 3:42, and it took a Luol Deng injury for TT to return with three minutes left in regulation.
The frontcourt that Vinny Del Negro tried to win the game with? Tell me if you think this works: undersized power forward Drew Gooden at center, small forward Andres Nocioni at power forward, flu-ridden wing Luol Deng at the flu-ridden wing. Marvy.
The Bulls should have won by 42, but couldn't pull away, and Derrick Rose had the worst game of his career. 3-16 shooting, five of his shots were blocked, and Chicago lost to a team without Jason Richardson, Gerald Wallace, and Raja Bell (ejected in the first for, I'm guessing, real estate reasons).
All five Clippers were in double-figures, and far be it for me to slam these guys, but the only team the Clips could have beaten on Tuesday night is the Thunder.
This team is fast becoming my least favorite, matching highly-paid veteran entitlement with nasty, perimeter-obsessed, lazy play. So let's briefly touch on the Thunder, who need to turn the ball over less, and have to get to the line more, and need to talk more defensively. Kevin Durant had 25 and five rebounds in 40 minutes, but he was abysmal when the ball wasn't in his hands. Chris Wilcox (13 points in 17 minutes) had a nice run in the first half, and while Earl Watson had 12 assists off the bench, I swear he's killing this team.
He's one of those guys that, if he makes a nice move at half court to get into the lane with a 3-on-2, he thinks he's allowed to keep the ball and make a horrible move and miss the shot. But it's justified because of the behind-the-back move at half court. The Clippers should trade for him.
The Hornets didn't exactly play down to their competition, Memphis played a tough defensive game in the second half and controlled the boards, but Chris Paul got to the line and forced a few more turnovers, James Posey shot the ball well late, and New Orleans hung on.
I watched the ends of three other games while this one was ostensibly waiting on my second Tivo tuner, only to see the second half fly away due to a idiotic thumb mishap once I switched over. So you can probably imagine my bad mood, both as a fan and a scribe, and you should probably lay the hell off. Just saying.
Denver looked fantastic in the first half, and Nene had a nice little throwdown in Yao Ming's face. But you know what? Nene shot 4-13 besides that dunk, and Yao dropped 32. So C-Webb and GP and Ahmad and the pathetic crew at NBA TV can carp all they want, but there's a reason that table has only one ring between it, and it's on loan from D-Wade: Nene made their night, even though Yao dropped 32 in the win.
Sacramento is a horrible team that doesn't have a good offense, they may not have liked Reggie Theus, but they are now without a rudder, and they looked miserable on Tuesday.
It wouldn't have made the difference in a 32-point loss, but John Salmons should have had several more plays called for him, and it showed up (the Kings shot 27 percent, he shot 47 percent) in the box score.
Meanwhile, Portland was +21 on the boards, yikes, and seemed to be a few spins away from scoring 125 points, in spite of the 41.4 percent shooting.
A Lakers/Knicks piece will follow this afternoon ...