CHICAGO — They say all good things must come to an end, and the Bulls got a taste of that Saturday night as the lowly LA Clippers came into Chicago and ended the Bulls seven game winning streak by one point. The loss was even more deflating because Derrick Rose and Carlos Boozer both had really good games. Both eclipsed 20 points and Rose had his eighth game this year where he goes for 30-plus points. Where their nights came to a miserable fail was the fact both failed to shoot above 60%; Rose only shot 50% in a 12/24 performance. In a word it was terrible.
Luol Deng scored 17 points in his performance and even that wasn’t enough to propel the Bulls past Vinny Del Negro and the Clippers. It was just the opposite for LA, second year stud Blake Griffin shot 10/18 scoring 29 points and that proved to be the difference, Griffith was consistent. The Bulls didn’t flat out lose the game, they just got unlucky breaks, thus the one point loss. It wasn’t even a lack of effort, Deng and Rose went over 40 minutes but somehow failed to get it done. It’s honestly perplexing to comprehend just how the Bulls lost this game away. Derrick Rose who has been Mr. Clutch throughout this winning streak fouled with 0.08 seconds left but made only one of two free throws, missing the game tying shot. With rebounding machine Joakim Noah on the bench the Bulls actually were hurting without him, the Clippers Blake Griffin led the game with 12 rebounds which helped thwart the Bulls 4th quarter rally.
The Bulls miss Joakim Noah way more than they thought they would, the energy on the court didn’t feel right at all, in fact it almost wasn’t there. Taj Gibson, Kurt Thomas and Omer Asik couldn’t get any kind of groove going with Carlos Boozer and just weren’t up to the task of filling Noah’s massive shoes; the trio combined for 12 fouls and 9 points. Those kinds of stats make Keith Bogans look like, well not like Keith Bogans. The way the Bulls played without Noah should also put any murmur of a trade involving the center to bed. I stated in the preview this team had chemistry and it does, but it turns out when you subtract Noah from the equation it throws the scale six ways to Hell. The Bulls have two days off until they face the 76ers and there are obvious holes to fix. Either Gibson (who left after suffering a concussion), Thomas and Asik need to get it together or the Bulls need to seek outside help. Perhaps Courtney Sims, who has had a pretty decent week in the D-League and could provide some help that is very much needed in Chicago at the moment.