Tag Archives: Isaiah Canaan

Note-A-Bulls: Bulls waste big games from Butler and Wade in home loss to Blazers

When you fail to shoot the ball well in the 4th quarter of an NBA game you’re typically going to lose that game. That’s exactly what happened Monday night at the United Center as the Bulls (11-9) lost a tough one to the Portland Trail Blazers (12-10) by a score of 112-110. After a back-and-forth affair that featured a game of numerous runs ended with the Blazer duo of Evan Turner and Damian Lillard making more plays down the stretch to hold of D Wade and Jimmy Butler to send the Bulls to their third loss in four games.

  • You hate to lose a game where your two best players play like just that, but that’s what happened against the Blazers as Wade and Butler both had tremendous efforts that were wasted. Wade scored 34, going 11/13 from the charity stripe while Butler put in 26 (his 14th straight over 20) and was perfect on eight attempts from the free throw line.
  • Both players were great at creating their own shot and making something out of nothing on a night where the Bulls offense was inconsistent to say the least. Unfortunately the duo got little help from the rest of their team as no other starter scored more than eight.
  • Another bright spot in this game was the Bulls ability to get to the free throw line as alluded to earlier. The Bulls got there 38 times, compared to the Blazers 18, and made 33 of them for an outstanding 86.8% on the night. Usually when you shoot 20 more free throws at home than you opponent and make more than 80% of them you’re in good shape, while that wasn’t the case tonight Bulls fans should hope this trend continues.
  • However, as in most losses, there was more bad than good in this one. Let’s start with Rajon Rondo being asked to sit this game out for disciplinary reasons. While Rondo has been the subject of much criticism recently, his absence showed just how thin they are at the point guard position. Jerian Grant got absolutely demolished by Lillard on multiple occasions and Isaia Canaan wasn’t much better in relief.
  • Canaan’s play down the stretch was concerning to say the least. Canaan wasn’t valuing each possession as he should have, giving away a couple bad turnovers and forcing up bad shots early in the shot clock in the fourth quarter. While Canaan isn’t used to playing in big time situations, he has to know better than to give away valuable possessions in a tight game. It probably would have been best to let Wade or Butler bring the ball up the last five minutes or so but hindsight is always 20/20.
  • The defense struggled again giving up more than 100 points for the sixth time in their last eight games. The Bulls struggled to cool the hot hand, whether it was Lillard or Turner at any given point, which allowed both players to go on continuous streaks at important times of the game. Take for example, a few series in a row in the fourth where Mirotic got switched on to Turner and resulted in baskets for him each time. That’s unacceptable play out of this team at this point in the season. Additionally, there were times throughout the game where the Bulls seemed to forget the most important defensive rule, stop the ball in transition. The Blazers got too many open shots too easily because the dribbler was never stopped once he crossed half court. This was part of the reason they put up 65 in the first half and continued on to put up monster numbers throughout the game.
  • As previously mentioned, some Trailblazers had some very solid games. Damian Lillard, per usual, had 30 points, seven dimes, and four boards while CJ McCollum had 24 points and five assists on 10/19 shooting. When they’re on, this is one of the prolific scoring duos in the league and they showed it tonight scoring in all different types of ways. The Blazers as a team shot a remarkable 48.4% which enabled them to overcome the free throw discrepancy and take home a big road win.
  • Up Next: The Bulls head to the Motor City on no rest to take on the Detroit Pistons Tuesday night.
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Note-A-Bulls: Bulls Find Fools Gold Once Again in Denver

Some numbers: 10, 15, 16, 22, 24, 35, and double zero. Over their last 10 meetings in Denver, the Bulls have lost all 10. Over their last 16 meetings in Denver, the Bulls have lost 15. The Nuggets went on a 22-0 run to start the second quarter, a 24-0 run in all. Jimmy Butler scored 35 points. Isaiah Canaan, number zero, airballed a three pointer to cap a 0-4 shooting night from beyond the arc. The Bulls lost this one 110-107 to continue their poor streak against the Nuggets in Colorado. Maybe it’s the mile-high air that gets them winded down the stretch, or maybe it’s the mountain logo on the floor that gets them distracted in crunch time, but they just can’t seem to do it. Here are your Note-A-Bulls:

  • The starting five  of Butler, Dwayne Wade, Rajon Rondo, Taj Gibson, and Robin Lopez combined for 38-75, an impressive FG% of 50.7%, accounting for all but 13 of the Bulls points for the game, and came out looking sharp to build a 31-19 first quarter lead.
  • That same starting five worked a long night in a city with thin air, all with at least 33 minutes of play.
  • Butler and Gibson had +/- splits of 18 and 12, respectively, while Isaiah Canaan had an awfully tough night at -22, by far the worst on the team, and a poor shooting night to boot, going 1-6 in 17 minutes.
  • The bench (what bench?). With top reserves Doug McDermott and Michael Carter-Williams out, the bench last night was very thin – Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg was forced to play Denzel Valentine and a struggling Isaiah Canaan for a combined 31 minutes. Bobby Portis was a no-show; in seven minutes of play, he went 0-3 with one rebound and a +/- of -9. Nikola Mirotic started off well, draining a deep three, and finished with a decent line of 4-10 with 11 points in 22 minutes, but was a part of poor rotations that saw him finish with a -9 as well.
  • A word about the final play of the game: it was drawn up for Wade to get the ball to Butler in the paint, but a Denver switch had Nuggets big man Kenneth Faried on Jimmy and there was nowhere to go. The second option was a curl for Canaan – he had an open three, but it wasn’t close. The Bulls players backed Hoiberg and defended the play, Hoiberg said he has to find a better play to draw up, and the rest of us are scratching our heads on why that was the second option, especially when Butler had hit a game-tying three just a couple of possessions prior.
  • They say games aren’t won or lost in the final minutes of the game, and this is true – the Bulls allowed a 24-0 run earlier in the game to sink them, getting out-rebounded 55-48 and 17-10 on the offensive boards, not winning loose balls, and showcasing sloppy play and turnovers; but, their final four minutes were not up to snuff. In the final four minutes, the sequence of plays looked like this (not a lot of good, with the exception of Butler coming through twice):
    • Wade missed 3-pt attempt
    • Bulls shot clock violation
    • Danilo Gallinari finger roll
    • Rondo layup (made)
    • Lopez block
    • Rondo turnover
    • Rondo missed jump shot, Lopez offensive rebound and missed put-back
    • Nuggets offensive rebound and Gallinari made three pointer
    • Butler fouled shooting a three (made all three)
    • Rondo foul
    • Lopez foul (Nuggets shoot two and make both)
    • Butler three pointer (made)
    • Wade foul (Nuggets shoot two and make both)
    • Canaan airball three pointer
    • Butler foul (Nuggets shoot two and make one)
  • For the Denver Nuggets, rookie Jamal Murray had a stellar night; in 21 minutes, he scored 24 points on 9-13 shooting, three for four from three point range, was three for three from the charity stripe, and put up six rebounds and two assists with zero turnovers for a +/- of +9.
  • Up Next: The Bulls finish up their road trip in Philadelphia on Friday, while the Nuggets play the Jazz in Utah on Wednesday.

Note-A-Bulls: Butler drops 40 to carry Bulls to back and forth win over Lakers

The Bulls improved to an impressive 9-5 on the year with a 118-110 victory over the Lakers (7-7) on Sunday night to split their Los Angeles double header this weekend. It was a back and forth affair that featured a lot of up and down play and a lot of long balls. There were a total of 53 shots from behind the arc for the two teams combined with 21 of them finding the bottom of the net. The Bulls led by a singular point at the half before pulling away in the second half and surviving a Laker comeback attempt to pick up the W. Let’s get more into what happened in this game and what it means going forward.

  • I don’t know how I got through that intro without mentioning Jimmy Butler, but somehow I did. This whole post could be about the man growing into an MVP candidate before our eyes. Remember when rumors were swirling around draft time for Butler to be traded to the Timberwolves. Seems like a distant dream now as Butler has developed into maybe the second best player in the East.
  • One play in particular stood out to me. It was towards the end of the 4th with the Lakers starting to mount a comeback. Butler got a rebound on an ill-advised shot by D’angelo Russell. He came down and was subsequently fouled by Julius Randle. Only no foul was called and instead there was a jump ball called. On the tip, Jimmy out-hopped the three inch his superior, Randle, by climbing the ladder to swat the ball back to his team. That kind of determination is why the Bulls will win plenty of games this year.
  • Finally time to get to Butler’s numbers. Jimmy went for 40 points, seven rebounds, and six assists. How’s that for a stat line? Over his last eight games, the Marquette product is averaging 28 points, seven boards, and over five dimes per game. Given his numbers and his top-10 PER rating thus far (27.1) it is time to be taking Jimmy seriously as a superstar in this league. Enjoy this kid while you can, he’s a joy to watch and never takes a play off.
  • I suppose there were other players in this game so let’s hit some of the highlights from the rest of the squad. Isaiah Canaan continued to stretch the floor while coming off the bench. The diminutive guard scored 17 points on 6/10 shooting, including 3/6 from deep. Rajon Rondo scored only four points, but added nine rebounds and 12 assists to his tally on the night. Rondo was also has a +/- rating of +15, quieting some of the noise from Bulls fans saying the team is better with him on the bench.
  • Another Bull who had a quality game was Nikola Mirotic. Mirotic dropped 15 points and also showed some hustle grabbing 15 boards. But what impressed me most, and gave me hope going forward, was his ability to make the extra pass in transition. Sure, he took some bad shots down the stretch, but overall, Mirotic showed a great propensity to look for the open shooter. Let’s home this continues as the Bulls desperately need to keep his shooting ability on the floor.
  • Another trend that continued is the Bulls ability to absolutely dominate teams on the glass. The Bulls are tied for second in the league in rebounding and just out-rebounded a solid Laker team by 19 on the road! The bulls were also able to snatch 18 offensive rebounds creating countless second and third chances that just demoralizes your opponent in a close game such as this one.
  • For the Lakers, it is obvious that this team is a more prepared and focused one under Luke Walton than Byron Scott. They are only .500 on the year but their young talent has begun to show some of that potential we keep hearing about. Lou Williams continues to impress off the bench as he scored 25 points on 8/14 shooting, including a red-hot 5/6 from three-point land.

Up Next: The Bulls continue their circus trip deep in the heart of the Rocky Mountains as they take on the Nuggets on Tuesday night.

Note-A-Bulls: Bulls cut down the Nets to stay undefeated

Well that was a laugher. The Bulls clobbered the Nets 118-88 to improve to 3-0 on the young season. Lucky for you, my loyal readers, I put more effort in these blog posts than some of the Nets put into playing basketball–otherwise this game recap would end right here and I would’ve turned this game off at halftime. That’s because the Bulls jumped on the Nets early and cruised to an easy W in Brooklyn. As it stands, let’s take a look back at how the Bulls got off to their best start since 1996-97 (don’t make any more comparisons between the two just yet).

  • As I said, this one was pretty much over after the first 12 minutes. The Bulls jumped out to a 38-20 lead and never looked back. This was one never really in jeopardy as every time it looked like the Nets might make a game of it, they got in their own way to let Chicago walk to a victory. The fact that no starter played more than 29 minutes (Wade) tells you all you need to know about this one. But the Bulls did what good teams do against lesser teams, stomped on them early and didn’t let them up for air. This performance will do nothing to quiet the cautiously optimistic fan base after the first few games.
  • It’s hard to pick out an MVP of this game as SEVEN players ended up in double digits, but I’m going to go with Isaiah Canaan who ended up with 15 points on an efficient 5/7 shooting, including 3/4 from deep. He also added 6 dimes and 3 boards with zero turnovers to boot. If Michael Carter-Williams is going to be out any significant amount of time, the Bulls will need Canaan to be a quality backup, which he showed he can be tonight.
  • The transition offense was a thing of beauty again in the first quarter of this one. One play in particular, the one you’ve been watching on Vine (R.I.P.) for the last hour, highlights this perfectly. 

 

  • Taj gathered an innocent miss, but instead of pulling it down, he looked to run. He zipped the ball cross court to a sprinting Rondo, who, without even thinking, fired the ball back across court to a cutting Wade. While Wade could have gone up and possibly gotten and And-1, he decided to one-time a perfect touch-pass to the soaring Butler who threw it down for two points. That made the score only 22-11 at the time, but you could pretty much tell this one was over after that.
  • The All-Lopez matchup didn’t exactly register in this one-sided affair, as neither twin played more than 22 minutes (Brook). Robin registered only 4 points and 5 boards on 1/5 shooting, while brother Brook went for 13 points and 2 boards on 5/11 shooting. Of course it was Robin who got the last laugh seeing his team go to 3-0 while Brook is saddled with a 1-3 squad who are going nowhere fast this year.
  • A big shoutout in this game goes to the Bulls defense. They started the game flying around on the defensive side of the floor, getting into passing lanes, cutting off dribble drives, and boxing out well to put this one to bed early. There’s something to be said for forcing early turnovers, and Rondo’s aggressiveness in particular stands out as the lightning rod for this team on D. He was able to harass ball handlers all game long and never gave up on any play.
  • We’re nitpicking here, but there are a couple areas the Bulls could improve upon. The first is taking care of the basketball. The Bulls turned it over 20 times to a terrible defensive team (league average is around 14). I realize most of these came when the score was out of hand, but against better teams they’ll take advantage of silly turnovers and unforced errors. Another slight problem was the defensive rebounding of the Bulls second unit. With Felicio as the lone quality rebounder on the second unit, this team will find it hard at times to recover errant opponents shots. We’ll see if Hoiberg decides to leave Taj or Lopez in with this unit against bigger lineups but it was definitely a noticeable problem against the Nets on Monday night.
  • For the Nets, there were very few positives coming out of this night. Lin seemed to be the only player with any energy on the court while the team shot an abysmal 34% on the night including 16% from downtown. I’m no mathematician, but that’s not going to win you a lot of ballgames. One nice surprise is the emergence of Bojan Bogdanovic who has averaged 17 points over the first four games of the season. It’s not much, but the Nets don’t have a whole lot going for them now or the foreseeable future as they swap picks with Boston in the 2017 draft.   
  • Up Next: The Bulls travel to Boston on Wednesday night as the Celts will look to avenge their only loss of the season.

 

Isaiah Canaan’s a one trick pony, but it’s the trick Chicago needs

Nobody seems excited about new Bulls point guard Isaiah Canaan. This is not a huge surprise, as most citizens have simply never heard of the guy. Those who are familiar with his work in Philadelphia the past two seasons were underwhelmed with Canaan’s defense, decision making, and inability to expand upon his only good skill: shooting.

Most of Bulls Twittersphere arrived at their bummed out conclusion about Canaan based on this grim profile by Jake Pavorsky from SBNation’s Liberty Ballers. The well-researched article goes deep on Canaan’s limitations as a point guard: he’s a bad floor general; he can’t finish near the basket; his defense just plain sucks, especially when forced to defend shooting guards.

Canaan’s shortcomings in Philly were amplified by the context around him. The 76ers were not a team built to win basketball games, and Canaan was forced to do things well outside of his comfort zone. It’s a bad sign that the opportunity to run the show did not result in much progress for Canaan, but do not let his failures in one facet of the game obscure the value he brings elsewhere.

Coming to Chicago presents Canaan with the opportunity to fit into a role that better suits his abilities. Between Rajon Rondo, Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler, the Bulls do not need any more ball dominant guards on the roster. Between the #ThreeAlphas, there will be no shortage of guys comfortable pounding the air out of the ball. What this team desperately does need is shooting, and shooting is what Canaan can do.

Isaiah Canaan averaged 25.5 minutes over the 77 games he appeared in last season and jacked an unconscionable 6.3 threes per game. Despite the high volume. the Murray State product managed to connect on 36.3% of those attempts. According to NBA.com, 2.5 of Canaan’s triple attempts per game – about half – were pull up shots off the dribble. On pull ups, Canaan managed to shoot just 32% from three. But when Canaan fired away off the catch, which he did 3.9 times per game last year, he connected on 40.1% of his attempts, an excellent rate that warrants off ball attention from opposing defenses.

Canaan simply will not have the ball in his hands enough to come close to approaching the number of pull up threes he took last season. And if a few of those low efficiency attempts are shaved down and replaced by shots Canaan has shown a consistent ability to make, it’s not crazy to think his overall percentage could creep up to 38% or 39%.

Canaan will continue to be a crappy defender. It’s unlikely he will grow a few inches and improve his inside finishing. He’ll never sniff the assist totals of a guy like Rondo. But, on a team completely devoid of guards who can shoot, Isaiah Canaan will make an impact. Regardless of which of the alphas he shares the court with, Canaan will afford an extra sliver of driving space for his backcourt mate. Canaan was stretched far beyond his capabilities in Philadelphia, but as a member of the Chicago Bulls I believe he can settle into a role that maximizes his value to the team.