The Chicago Bulls pulled a no-show last night against the short-handed San Antonio Spurs. They lost by 14 despite finishing with a 23-rebound advantage, which doesn’t seem like it should be possible. But this Bulls team hasn’t made sense all year, so why would it start now?
Anyway, here are three things the Bulls can learn from their loss.
1. Rebounding is important, but that’s hardly the only important thing.
Again, the Bulls finished +23 on the glass last night. They had 17 offensive rebounds, while the Spurs had just 2. According to Bulls Radio’s stat man Jeff Mangurten, that’s the largest rebounding advantage in a loss for the Bulls since March of 2000, when they outrebounded the Orlando Magic by 25.
The Bulls’ calling card is rebounding, which is fine, but just owning the boards isn’t always enough. When you give up 52 percent shooting and turn the ball over 19 times, you better be on fire from the field. Which brings me to…
2. Turnovers are bad. Just in general.
19 turnovers isn’t good. You can’t play a good team and just hand them an extra 19 possessions. This has been an issue all year, and it doesn’t figure to change any time soon. When Nate Robinson and Marco Belinelli are your primary ball handlers, there’s only so much that can be done about turnovers. The idea is to limit turnovers, rather than eliminate them completely. If the Bulls can stay closer to 12 turnovers rather than 19, they’ll be much better off.
3. The Spurs are really, really good.
Even without Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker, the Gregg Popovich’s squad is solid. Kawhi Leonard put up 26 points last night because someone had to do it. The Spurs do this all the freaking time. Remember when the NBA fined them for sending four of their best players home before playing the Miami Heat back in November? They were in that game until the final minute and almost won. When their stars are out, the role players step up.
Here’s the point: The Bulls did not play well as a whole last night. Having said that, their two main problems from last night can be fixed, at least to some extent, and losing to the Spurs in virtually any context isn’t anything to be overly ashamed of. The Bulls have the day off today and play the Boston Celtics on Wednesday, so let’s hope they figure some things out by then. But if not, they’ll have the all-star break to recover. This isn’t the end of the world.