Tag Archives: Steph Curry

BULLet Points: Bulls no match for Curry and the Warriors

Losing a game by 30 points on your home floor is typically cause for hysteria. But with the Warriors in town Wednesday night, the default settings on the panic meter need to be adjusted.

  • It wasn’t all bad here in game 40. The starting back court combined to score 52 points on 50% shooting from the field. Rose was straight up cooking in the first half, scoring 21 points on 10/15 shooting.
  • Rose displayed great touch on his floaters and mid range jumpers. When Derrick hits his spots on the glass, he becomes very difficult to guard. Rose, who was 0/2 from beyond the arc, doesn’t necessarily need to become a three point marksman to open up driving lanes. If defenders have to honor jump shots of any distance, Rose will continue to fine clear paths to the basket.
  • My one complaint from this Rose performance, which ended with him scoring 29 points on 12/22 shooting, was his inability to spin his success off into success for his teammates. Rose tallied just two assists in his 30 minutes of action. While assist totals aren’t always the best indication of playmaking ability, Rose’s performance didn’t pass the eye test. Too often it seemed Rose decided he was taking the shot and didn’t look to set up his teammates for easy buckets. It’s hard to critique a player’s shot selection when he makes over 50% of his field goals, but it’s on night’s like this, when Rose has the defense’s full attention, that he should be looking for his teammates.
  • Jimmy Butler finished this game with 23 points, but almost all of his activity came in the 24 minutes of garbage time commonly referred to as the “second half of Warriors games.” Butler shot 1/7 from the field on mostly lazy contested jump shots in the first two quarters and drew just one shooting foul. He finished the game with an impressive 12 attempts from the line, but it would have been nice to see some more aggression before the game got out of hand.
  • It’s sort of discouraging that Rose and Butler’s strong individual stretches did not overlap at all.
  • The rest of the Bulls starting five combined to shoot 3/22 from the field for a combined seven points. Pau Gasol was completely erased by Draymond Green. Green is an expert defending screeners and did not let Pau get into any sort of rhythm in the pick and pop. Tony Snell was 0/4 from three and was unable to do anything positive even in an extended garbage time run. Taj at least had a cool dunk.
  • Snell has underwhelmed in his return to the starting lineup, but none of his competition for small forward minutes have done much to distinguish themselves. Mirotic was 0/5 from the field on mostly ugly clankers. McDermott was 1/6 and a team worst -28 in 32 minutes of play.
  • It was another classic low energy first quarter for the Bulls who gave up several easy buckets to the best transition offense in the NBA. The Warriors beat the Bulls down the court over and over again, including after a couple of made shots. The MO of the Bulls the last two years has been malaise against the league’s lower tiers and high intensity against the elite. The attention to detail on defense in this game put a big dent in that perception.
  • The Bulls entered the fourth quarter facing a 24 point deficit and Fred Hoiberg used the final 12 minutes to experiment. Before Cam Bairstow entered the game with three minutes left, the Bulls only big man on the court was Bobby Portis. The five out offense was fun to see, and Portis had himself a nice outing after struggling in his last few games. But the Bulls surrendered 38 points in the quarter to Golden State’s scrubs, many of which came on uncontested dunks and layups. Portis has a great motor and a pretty well rounded offensive skillset, but his ability to play NBA defense is a definite work in progress. Noah’s absence will create more learning opportunities for the rookie, but for now Portis is not capable of anchoring a defense.
  • Cristiano Felicio and Cameron Bairstow are not the frontcourt of the future.
  • Aaron Brooks was abused by Shaun Livingston. Brooks struggles to slow down most NBA point guards, but in a matchup where he was at a 10 inch disadvantage, AB never had a chance. I wish Hoiberg would have pulled the plug earlier on Brooks and given E’Twaun Moore more minutes. Moore finished with 13 points and did his best to slow down the world’s most terrifying offensive force.
  • The Warriors are amazing. They’re a machine running at full capacity from tip to final buzzer. They overwhelm teams with their passing, patience and shooting. Several times the Bulls played 20 seconds of good defense on a possession, but Golden State will make you pay for any slippage in the final four seconds.
  • The Steph Curry-Derrick Rose matchup was apparently the first between point guards who have won NBA MVP.
  • Coming up: the Bulls head to Boston for a Friday night matchup.

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BULLet Points: Bulls fight valiantly, lose, against champion Warriors

The comparisons between the 2015-16 Golden State Warriors and the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls have started already, and although the season is not even a full month old, there is no question that Steph Curry’s Warriors are the toughest team to face in the NBA right now.  Especially when you have to meet them in Oakland. That said, the Bulls were pretty impressive, ultimately falling short in the final minutes of the fourth quarter and losing 106-94–a score that makes the game look much less close than it actually was. The Warriors won their 14th straight game to start the season, two off of the NBA record. Here’s a look at some of the key points from the matchup:

  • Kirk Hinrich showed flashes of his former self. He made Steph Curry’s life as hard as possible (he had a +/- of even in Friday’s game), and his 17 points came largely from an impressive 3/4 from the three point range. By no means do I expect that Hinrich has much left to offer this team, but he served up some timely scoring that could have been more beneficial had the Bulls been able to keep the game closer in the last four minutes of the game.
  • Derrick Rose sat out again. Rose sprained his ankle in Monday night’s game, and after sitting out on Wednesday night in Phoenix, he opted to stay out of Friday’s game as well, in spite of the chance to play against Curry. Given Rose’s history, I see no reason for him to push himself too far. The Bulls have surprised me a bit up to this point in the young season, and though I hate to get ahead of myself, I want Rose as healthy as possible for the last stretch of the season and even into the playoffs. I don’t’ know how much of a difference that Rose would have made against Golden State, but either way, I am ultimately happy with the decision to be cautious about how many minutes he spends on the floor after something like a sprained ankle.
  • I harped a bit on Nikola Mirotic’s shooting in Monday’s BULLet Points, and I would like to point out that he was 0/6 from three point range against Golden State. This makes him 20/64 on the season so far, and though he shot well from beyond the arc through the first four games of the season, that just has not been the case since then. Perhaps it’s time for him to spend less time shooting from deep. He did shoot 6/6 from the free throw line and grabbed 10 rebounds.
  • Bench play. Our bench players did not contribute at all like they needed to in a game like this one. The four players who came off the bench combined for just 15 points (by comparison, Golden State’s bench added 32 to their total), and this is with nine from E’Twuan Moore.
  • Joakim Noah on offense has gone from laughable to worrisome to problematic. He added no points off of the bench on Friday, making it the fifth time that’s happened this season. He often looks lost on offense and as if he does not know where he should be.
  • Jimmy Butler was unbelievable, pouring in 28 points, nine boards and seven assists. He was the best player on the floor for most of the night, often guarding the much bigger Draymond Green.
  • The Warriors are just seriously good. We didn’t see Stephen Curry’s best work on Friday night, but he still managed 27 points, four assists, four steals, and five rebounds. Hinrich held him to 3/11 from distance. The Warriors are now 14-0, and may well pose a real threat to the 72 wins of the 1995-96 Bulls.
  • In all, though the final score does not really reflect this, the game was much, much closer than a glance at the box score might indicate. I was genuinely impressed with the way that the Bulls kept this game very close and were not really out of this game until being outscored 29-21 in the 4th quarter. And even then, it was not until the last three or four minutes that Golden State really started to pull away and widen their lead behind the vaunted small lineup of Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green. This game was within Chicago’s grasp until that group, +74 in 54 minutes this year, slammed the door.
  • Coming up: the Bulls continue their November “circus trip” and look to improve to 9-4 in Portland on Tuesday night.

 

BULLet Points: Bulls get a little revenge against Hornets

“Revenge is a dish best served cold.” – Klingon Proverb

The Bulls didn’t exactly get the “you stomped us, we’ll stomp you” flavor of revenge they were hoping for, but they did get the win, 102-97. They entered tonight with a 5-3 record, besting the Cavs and the Thunder, but losing to lesser teams in the Pistons, Timberwolves, and Hornets. They were out rebounded 52-33 in their last contest against Charlotte, and they had another crack at them tonight:

  • The Bulls were active on the glass this time, determined not to get beat on the boards again, winning that battle 57-45. Joakim was a huge contributor to this, posting 18 rebounds and six assists in the most active game he’s had all year. He’s the first player with 16 plus boards and six plus assists off the bench since Dennis Rodman for the Spurs in December 1994; it was fitting that he had the final rebound of the game on Charlotte’s last shot. His energy was great and the knee doesn’t seem to be bothering him. His offensive activity both with and without the ball was enough to make me a believer that he’s going to cause defenses some problems this year, which is a great sign going forward.
  • Pau was a big factor too, adding 13 rebounds to complement his 19 points in a very productive game, posting his third double-double in the last four games (and the one miss was a 16 point, nine rebound effort against Philadelphia); however, it should be noted he was -8 for the game, and wasn’t as productive with Niko on the floor, who was -6.
  • Rose had another decent game, again playing more of a facilitating role with 10 points and eight assists (to three turnovers) in 35 minutes. When the floor was spaced with shooters, Rose was able to penetrate and make decisions between finishing, finding a shooter, or hitting the diving big man on the roll. Unfortunately, he still thinks he can make threes for some reason, missing two more tonight. He’s now 1/18 on the season. Here’s his shot chart, just to rub salt in the wound:

Shotchart_1447473640201

  • While we’re on the subject of three-point shooting, the Bulls averaged 25 of them coming into this game, having a streak of 11 straight games with at least seven made threes. That ended tonight, shooting just 4/16 from deep, while the Hornets were 15/33, which is really what kept the game close.
  • Doug McDermott continues to shoot well, 3/6 on field goals and 1/2 from downtown. He’s at 57.1% overall from deep for the season and he moves well without the ball. Here’s what a really great shot chart is supposed to look like (*cough* Derrick take notes *cough* notice how it’s green and not red *cough*):

Shotchart_1447474781181

  • Early on, the Bulls ran most of their offensive sets through Pau Gasol after a series of dribble hand-offs rather than setting the drag screens we’re more accustomed to seeing with Hoiball. This remained to be prominent in their offense throughout the game as they struggled with reversing the ball and not doing a good job of kicking it out on their drives. The Hornets got their hands on too many passes in the second quarter, but the Bulls found more success as the game went on by pushing the ball in transition and being more aggressive on their drives.
  • Jimmy got a little too comfortable settling for isolation fade aways early on in the game, but hit his stride in the third quarter and through the rest of the game, ending with 27 points, five rebounds, and four assists with 11/14 from the line, hitting what was the clinching jump shot in the final seconds of the game. If it weren’t for Jimmy’s short take over, Charlotte might have done more damage, outscoring the bulls 18-0 from three point range in the third quarter.

  • The second unit showed up to play tonight, all posting positive plus minuses (except Aaron Brooks, who was even); E’Twaun Moore was a big boost off the bench, going 5/6 with 11 points and five rebounds in 22 minutes. Taj also played well, with 12 points on 6/10 from the field.
  • Kirk returned from a sore toe on a 10-minute restriction and surprisingly wasn’t terrible; let’s just keep his minutes down. But the most activity around Kirk was in the two minutes he decided to play without his goggles – the Twittersphere went a little nuts:

Kirk 1Kirk 2Kirk 3

  • As for the Hornets: Al Jefferson was a surprising non factor in this game, scoring just six points on 3/9 shooting with only five rebounds. He normally causes the Bulls more issues but wasn’t able to gain any kind of consistency in the post. Nicolas Batum went crazy with 28 points on 10/17, including 5/6 from three (though one was a bank shot that he very clearly did not call bank on). He also had eight rebounds in just under 35 minutes.
  • Jeremy Lin played pretty terrible tonight (-15, four points on 2/7), but he shockingly has a top 10 PER in the league for qualified point guards (Rose isn’t even in the top 50) at 21.09. And by the way, Steph Curry is at a ridiculous 10-game PER of 37.12 with the Westbrook the next closest guy at 29.77. Remember when I talked about WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne’s absurd PER of 32.7 this past year, and Wilt’s all-time single season NBA record of 31.82? Obviously Steph will regress (right?!), but you can see why 37.12 is just flat out nasty. I don’t care if it’s only through 10 games.
  • Up Next: The Bulls host Indiana on Monday; Charlotte hosts the Trail Blazers on Sunday
  • On a more somber note, we try to focus on basketball on a day when the attacks in Paris are heavy on our hearts and our minds. With some of Joakim Noah’s family in Paris, we are even more keenly aware that these attacks strike closer to home than we may think.

The Inaugural Podcast: Talking Bulls

Jake Weiner, Jacob Bikshorn and Drew Hackman got together to discuss the Bulls’ thrilling win over the Warriors, the Atlanta Hawks, Derrick Rose’s comeback season, Joakim Noah’s health, the Bulls’ different lineup combos, and of course Kirk Hinrich, amongst other topics. Enjoy!