Tag Archives: Robin Lopez

Note-A-Bulls: Boston hands the helpless Bulls their fifth straight loss 100-80

I’m not sure how many doom and gloom articles have been written about the Bulls this year, but there’s about to be one more added to the list. In what can only be described as an absolute thumping, the Bulls (31-35) lost to the Celtics (42-25) on Sunday afternoon 100-80 in a game that somehow wasn’t as close as the score indicated. There are numerous stats that illustrate the Bulls ineptitude in this contest but I think one stands above the rest. With under 10 minutes to play in the second quarter, the Bulls had amassed a grand total of three field goals and had managed to turn the ball over six times. Their turnover to field goal ratio was an astounding 2:1 with under 10 minutes to go in the first half.

This one started bad and stayed ugly as the Bulls managed to score a measly 26 points in the entire first half. That was “good enough” for lowest mark of any NBA team at the half this season and only three more than the Bulls franchise low of 23 in a half.

There were several issues with the offense, especially in the first half. The most glaringly obvious were the spacing issues. There were times in the first half when there would be four of the five Bulls on the court on the same side of it. Or four Bulls clogging the lane at the same time. These issues are pretty predictable for anyone who looks at the Bulls roster and fails to see a premier outside threat. But there were some possessions that were just downright laughable, even for this space challenged squad.

Of course, there were other offensive issues as well. Turnovers remained an issue for this squad, and general shot-making was a challenge to say the least. The Bulls actually managed to find some open looks despite their spacing problems only to clank the majority of their opportunities. The Bulls finished the first half 11/43 from the field, 25 percent. It’s hard to stay in any game shooting at that clip, especially against a quality team on the road.

Dwyane Wade had one of the more memorable quotes of the day in a post-game interview where he was asked about minutes for potentially ill-prepared players on the roster. His response: “I wish upper management could be answering these questions. Because I’m tired of answering them” (via KC Johnson). Wade’s candidness about the front office is rather refreshing in the midst of a five game losing streak. I’m sure Bulls fans would like a similar explanation as far as what exactly Gar Forman and John Paxson are planning in terms of the future of this roster.

Wade however, didn’t exactly back up his post-game talk on the court. The Marquette product finished the game with just 8 points in 26 minutes while accumulating a career-worst +/- rating of -37. That’s a hard number to reach being on the floor for just over a half of basketball. Wade wasn’t particularly bad (minus a defensive gaffe in the first), but if you’re not part of the solution than you’re part of the problem. So he gets a black mark for that reason alone.

Elsewhere, Cameron Payne, the Bulls newest addition, continued his struggles. Having been given the backup point guard duties and seeing an increase in playing time, Payne showed he still has a long way to go before having an impact in this league. Payne scored 7 points and added 3 assists in 20 minutes on 3/7 shooting. However, he also managed to turn the ball over a concerning 5 times and generally showed little grasp of the flow of the offense. Things weren’t much better on the defensive side of things as Payne was constantly being taken off the dribble leading to easy baskets in the paint for the Celtics.

It’s hard to give an MVP to anyone for their performance yesterday, but Robin Lopez would have been the most deserving. The starting center scored 13 points on 5/6 shooting and displayed his normal hustle to grab boards even when things were getting out of hand. Say what you will about his skill, Lopez always goes 100% and never takes a play off.

For Boston, Isaiah Thomas did his thing, going for 22 points on an efficient 9/14 shooting. Al Horford also had himself a nice game scoring 12 while grabbing 7 boards and handing out 6 assists. The Celtics will need Horford to have  well-rounded game if they are going to pull the upset of the Cavs in the playoffs this year. Boston needs that balance on the roster as they can’t solely rely on Thomas to do it all come playoff time.

Next Up: The Bulls travel to Charlotte tomorrow to take on the Hornets in an attempt to halt their five game skid.

Note-A-Bulls: Bulls put up another stinker in blowout loss to the lowly Suns

The Bulls have been teetering on the edge of a downward spiral in their last seven games, somehow squeaking out a record of 3-4 by holding on to victory against the Kings after Sacramento mounted a tremendous comeback, and besting the Oklahoma City Thunder. It’s going to be a tall task from here on out for the Bulls to maintain their composure and try to sneak into the playoffs, especially with their difficult upcoming schedule.

Tonight, the Bulls had a minor respite against a struggling Suns team, who had lost eight of their last nine games, and came in with a pitiful record of 16-37, the worst in the West. But all did not go according to plan, as the Bulls made things harder on themselves, losing 115-97 in Jimmy Butler’s first game back from a heel injury.

  • The Bulls started off looking pretty good, getting contributions from Doug McDermott and Nikola Mirotic, building a 25-16 lead, but a 12-1 run by the Suns to end the quarter saw it quickly disappear. The Bulls had a similar meltdown at the end of the second quarter, surrendering a 17-4 run to go into halftime with a 13 point deficit, 56-43. They tried to close the gap to start the third quarter, beginning with a 9-2 run, but they could not sustain it, quickly down 13 again midway through the period and would never recover from there on out.
  • On their fifth straight road game, the lethargy was showing. In the first half, Phoenix outscored the Bulls 11-2 on fast break points, weren’t able to bang down low resulting in a 30-12 margin, and relinquished 13 points off turnovers while amassing just eight themselves.
  • It was clear the absence of play due to the heel injury was affecting Butler. He scored 20 points but was just 6-20 from the field. He was able to get to the line for eight points but could not connect from beyond the arc in three attempts, and posted just three rebounds.
  • Robin Lopez had a very respectable game, with the only positive +/- on the team in 23 minutes of play. He was aggressive on offense, going five for nine with 12 points and securing five offensive boards to keep Bulls possessions alive. The Bulls couldn’t do much with those extra possessions, but RoLo did his part.
  • Dwyane Wade came back from an illness that sidelined him against Golden State and although he didn’t have a very efficient game (7-16 from the field), his off the ball movement was on point, putting up 18 points with a few backdoor cuts resulting in dunks.
  • Jerian Grant was awarded the starting point guard role, but didn’t score his first points until a three ball with four minutes remaining in the third quarter. It would be his only points for the game. As the backup point guard, Rajon Rondo continued to struggle with the worst +/- on the team with -17 in 23 minutes. He had just three points, four rebounds, and three assists.
  • As a team, the Bulls shot just 43% for the game. This wasn’t helped by a continued struggle from three point range, connecting on just 5-19 for a paltry 26.3%. For the season, they’re still dead last in the league, at 31.5%. Fortunately, for the Bulls, they were going up against another struggling three point shooting team – the Suns are 25th in the league at 34.1%. Unfortunately, the Suns exceeded their season average by hitting eight threes, good for 42.1%.
  • Devin Booker is really impressive on this Suns team. He’s a young star who we’ll be seeing a lot more of in the years to come. The backcourt of Booker and Eric Bledsoe combined for 50 points on 50% shooting with a +32, dominating the minutes sheet with 33 apiece.
  • Up Next: The Bulls wrap up their six game road trip in Minnesota against Tom Thibodeau’s Timberwolves on Sunday. The Suns travel to Houston to play the Rockets on Saturday for a back-to-back.

Note-A-Bulls: Bulls lose another head-scratcher to the Mavericks 99-98 at the UC

Well I wish I could say I’m surprised. Coming off back-to-back wins including an impressive W on the road in Memphis, the Bulls (21-22) did what they do best, confuse the hell out of you. While Taj Gibson was out of the lineup tonight with a minor injury, there is no excuse for losing to the Dallas Mavericks (14-27) at home. One month after blitzing the Bulls in Big D by a score of 107-82, the Mavs squeaked by the Bulls 99-98 (no Big Mac sorry) on Tuesday night. Let’s take a look at how one of the more disappointing losses of the season unfolded.

  • Let’s start with the ending. The Bulls tied the game up on a nice runner in the lane from Doug McDermott following a great cut to the basket that sprung him loose. After a big defensive stop the Bulls turned to Jimmy to once again be their closer, and once again he delivered on a long, contested jumper that put the Bulls up 98-96 and all was right with the world.
  • However, the Bulls got caught celebrating the make as they were anticipating Dallas to call timeout, only one never came. With the Bulls out of position, Nikola Mirotic got switched on to Deron Williams. D-Will proceeded to easily guide past Niko before dishing a beautiful pass over to Wesley Matthews who hit the clutch go-ahead 3.
  • Niko should have given Deron more cushion knowing that he is quicker and was only 1/5 from deep in the game. But after trying to face guard him, it forced Wade to come help leaving Matthews wide open, it’s the little things that get magnified late in games and end up turning W’s into L’s.
  • Fortunately, there was still 11 seconds left. Unfortunately, Hoiberg forgot to draw up a play, or so it seemed. Jimmy got the ball and was stuffed from going anywhere but luckily had the ball knocked out of his hands right to Wade. Unluckily, Wade missed the tough fadeaway as time expired to seal the Bulls fate.
  • Why no pick and roll? Why not let Rondo start with it and get it to Jimmy deeper in the paint? Anything would have been better than letting Jimmy try and beat Matthews 1-on-1 after Matthews had done a good job on him all night. Going pick and roll and giving Jimmy even a little space or ability to play make disappeared with this stand still offensive set and set the Bulls up for inevitable failure.
  • Obviously I just took a lot of time there breaking down what amounts to about 2% of the actual game But it is precisely these small mistake throughout the game that makes a good team mediocre. Not knowing scouting reports, not adjusting to in-game flow, not hustling back on defense after a make. All of these things turn wins in to losses and could mean the difference between facing the Cavs or Raptors in the first round, or missing the playoffs altogether! Alright, I’m done ranting now.
  • Let’s talk about some good things the Bulls did against the Mavs. Jimmy had a Jimmy game going for 24 points, 12 assists, and nine boards just missing out on a triple-double. He also got to the line an impressive 16 times making 14 of them, something he’s gotten exponentially better at these last couple of seasons.
  • Robin Lopez had a stellar offensive night for his standards as well. RoLo scored 21 points on 10/15 shooting and did it every which way. Put backs, jumpers, post moves, crazy “and-1s”, you name it Lopez executed it tonight and gave the Bulls a nice inside presence with Gibson out for the night.
  • The Mavs had a balanced scoring attack all night with six players in double-figured getting a game high 20 from Harrison Barnes. The MVP of the night though goes to Wesley Matthews who dueled with his Marquette brethren Butler all game long. He finished with only 11 points and four rebounds but played terrific defense on Jimmy all night holding him to only 12 field goal attempts and five makes forcing him to pass up shots he usually takes. Matthews was also the man to hit the biggest shot of the game to send a dagger into Bulls fans hearts.
  • Up Next: The Bulls travel to the ATL on Friday night to take on Dwight Howard and the Hawks.

Note-A-Bulls: Jimmy’s heroics save the Bulls from embarrassing defeat

On Wednesday Night at the United Center we were treated to a game that resembled a a heaping pile of turd with a pretty bow on top. I use this analogy because for the first 47 minutes of the game, we were treated to a snooze fest between a team that was 1-14 on the road coming in (Nets) and a team that had lost six of its last seven and had shown little fight in any of those games. But let’s break down that final minute of the Bulls (16-16) 101-99 win over the Brooklyn Nets (8-23).

  • After being deadlocked at 97 for over a minute, Jimmy Butler decided he had enough. He collected a steal on the defensive end before pulling up for a smooth mid range J to put the Bulls up 2. On the following possession, Brook Lopez turned back the clock (and forgot about his 16 foot surgeries apparently) by blowing by twin brother Robin to throw down a thunderous dunk with 12 seconds remaining.
  • From there it was Jimmy G Buckets time. Why the Nets offered poor Bojan Bogdanovic absolutely no help D (not so much as a flash) is beyond me. How Kenny Atkinson thought it was a good idea to let the Bulls only reliable scorer with Wade out calmly step up and drain a jumper as time expired against a much slower defender is beyond me, but I’m glad he did. Butler is becoming cold-blooded in crunch time which is nice to see, and watching him drain that buzzer-beater gave me a slight glimmer of hope for the future (even if it was just the Nets).
  • Speaking of Jimmy, let’s talk about the boy wonder who can do no wrong and is apparently indestructible. Even after rolling an ankle in the second half, Butler came through with a monster game to will the Bulls to win a game they really couldn’t afford to lose with the season quickly slipping away.
  • The Marquette Man finished with a line of 40 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, and four steals. If that isn’t a full stat sheet I don’t know what is. Butler was one of just three Bulls in double figures tonight as he scored in every imaginable way as Bogdanovic clearly struggled to slow him down with any regularity. He truly is a joy to watch on a nightly basis, it’s too bad this front office can’t put the players around him to succeed on any given night.
  • The only other positive I can come up with for this game for the Bulls is the charity stripe. The Bulls managed to get to the line 29 times on the night, knocking down a remarkable 28 of them for a staggering 97% clip on the night. Attacking the basket is when this Bulls team is at its best which has a strong correlation to trips to the free throw line. This trend will be key for the Bulls going forward in order to be successful.
  • Moving on from the few and far between bright spots of this game, it’s time to focus on the ever exciting topic of turnovers. The Nets aren’t exactly the most stout defense, giving up approximately 176 points per game on the road (sadly only a small exaggeration), but the Bulls still managed to turn the ball over a whopping 18 times. These were of course mostly self-inflicted wounds as the Nets didn’t suddenly turn into the Bad Boy Pistons overnight. Against good teams, every possession is valuable, and the Bulls sure don’t treat it that way as it took a late collapse from the Nets in this one to escape with a victory. It’s hard to tell if it’s the coaching, the players, or the general lack of focus that have lead to these turnover woes recently but the Bulls will be doomed as a .500 team if this continues.
  • As for the battle of the Lopez twins, Brook won again outscoring his brother for the 15th time in as many head-to-head match-ups. Brook ended the night with an impressive 33 points on 12/20 shooting including a surprising 5/6 from deep. Robin managed a respectable 12 points on the night on 5/8 shooting and got the last laugh after his team pulled out a W late.
  • Up Next: The Bulls travel to the Indy City to take on Paul George and the Pacers Friday night.

Note-A-Bulls: T’Wolves stun Bulls by storming back from 21 down in Thibs return to Chicago

What just happened? In the simultaneously most AND least surprising game of the season, the Bulls (13-11) blew a 21 point lead at home to one of the worst teams in the NBA. The Bulls lost a clunker to Minnesota 99-94. Yes Thibs (making his anticipated return to Chicago) is a good coach, and yes, the Timberwolves (7-18) have some talent with Karl Anthony-Towns (KAT) and Andrew Wiggins, but let’s face it, the Wolves are a bad team. And somehow the Bulls found a way to blow a game where they were firing on all cylinders for the first 12+ minutes of the game. Let’s break down the Bulls worst loss of the season, shall we?

  • The Bulls started on a tear, dominating the first quarter of play and going up 38-22, including a 16-0 towards the middle of the frame. The defense was clicking, the offense was getting out in transition, and the Wolves interior defense was wallpaper thin. It also didn’t hurt that the Bulls were making everything in sight, 16/22 (73%) for the quarter.
  • They also made their only two threes of the first frame, and added only two more to that tally while missing 11 in the process. The Bulls also never scored 20 again in any of the last three quarters of this one to illustrate just how far south this game went. In fact, the Bulls only shot 22/65 for the final three frames, coming out to a putrid 34% over that time frame. I don’t care who you play, putting up those numbers over 36 minutes is going to result in an L more times than not.
  • I don’t know what hoarse nonsense Thibs yelled at his inexperienced squad after the first, but it sure got their attention. The game flipped around the halfway point of the second as the Wolves were able to get back within striking distance thanks to some poor Bulls shooting, 8/21 (38%) and pushing the pace off of said misses. They trailed by only four at the half.
  • The second half was a grind it out affair that saw the edge shift towards the T’Wolves thanks to their speed and ability to get second chance points. While the Bulls were continuing to force up bad shots and turn the ball over, Minnesota was able to get behind the Bulls secondary, err, defense, for an easy two on several occasions.
  • There were some bright spots to come out of this gloomy Tuesday night. Jimmy Butler did Jimmy Butler things en route to a 27/9/6 slash line. He was a playmaker all night but couldn’t make enough plays down the stretch to eek out a win in this one.
  • Robin Lopez (despite his odd -16 +/- rating) played really well on the night. RoLo scored 14 points on an efficient 7/9 shooting night, but it was his defense that stood out in this one. Lopez had four huge blocks and held KAT (one of the most promising young talents) to a 6/21 shooting night and looked uncomfortable the majority of the evening. RoLo’s presence in the middle is a nice change of pace from the stone-footed Pau Gasol Bulls fans are used to from the last couple of years.
  • The more things change, the more they stay the same. Thibs minutes are again the focal point of many of his critics. Coming into tonight, the Wolves had three of the top 19 players in minutes played this year. And again tonight, every starter played AT LEAST 35 minutes! Compare that to only one Bull (Butler) getting more than 33 minutes and you wonder what Thibs is thinking. In a day and age where rest is valued more than in any other era, you would think a smart coach would want to protect his young stallions. Instead, he whips them into the ground almost every night hoping he can get his team one game closer to .500. Color me forever confused on this one.
  • Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine were the two stars for Minnesota in this one. Wiggins scored 23 points and grabbed nine boards while finding different ways to score throughout the night. WIggins can not only spread the floor, but also is easily able to flash his athleticism once he gets into the lane. LaVine on the other hand had a 24/6/6 slash line on 10/18 shooting and was often on the receiving end of those long post routes down the floor for an easy two for the Wolves. He’s beginning to combine his freakish athleticism with some basketball IQ which is a scary thing for the rest of the Association.
  • Up Next: The Bulls try to rebound on Thursday night against Jabari Parker and the Bucks in Milwaukee.