Do you see this picture? It shows a lot. Joakim Noah surrounded by the Nets trying to take the ball away. Boy Murphy’s Law came into effect big time last night didn’t it? The Chicago Bulls playing the second game of a back to back sure looked like it losing to the Brooklyn Nets 96-80. This was ugly from the get go and frankly the Bulls were a tired basketball team that was mired in sloppiness all night long. As efficient as the Bulls played against the New York Knicks setting a franchise record by turning the ball over only three times, they did the exact opposite against New York’s other team. The Bulls turned the ball over an absurd 28 times last night. Let’s not panic everyone. This happens sometimes. For the recap of this game, please check out Ashley Wijangco’s expert analysis of this game. It’s a good read as always. This article is based strictly on how I saw it.
I’m going to use a part of a rap lyric that goes like this…up in Brooklyn better known as Crooklyn. I use this because it applies. The Brooklyn Nets could have been called the Crooklyn Nets last night to the tune of 19 steals. They stole the ball, the uniforms, the team bus and the gas money. If you saw a lot of tall people led by a balding guy in a suit walking around Brooklyn last night, that was probably the Bulls trying to find a ride to the airport. They probably couldn’t find the plane because based on what happened last night, the Nets probably stole that too. The Nets’ 19 steals last night was the highest since 1989. Ever heard of the movie the Dirty Dozen? Well let me introduce you to the “Fleecing Five”…
Shaun Livingston- 5 steals
Paul Pierce-4 steals
Joe Johnson-3 steals
Andray Blatche-3 steals
Deron Williams- 2 steals
Get the picture? The Crooklyn Nets pilfered the Bulls so much you would think their pictures would be hanging in the Post Office right now. The Nets put this game to bed at the start of the first half with a 8-0 run to start the game and then tucked the Bulls in with a 7-0 run at the start of the second half. Deron Williams scored 20 points and dished out six assists. Joe Johnson had 19 points on a very efficient 7-11 shooting. Paul Pierce and Shaun Livingston each scored 14 points. With their success last night shows us this Pippen Peoples, the weakness on the Bulls stands in the backcourt. They struggle mightily sometimes against bigger, quicker guards. The Nets have guards that fit that description. The only thing is Williams and Johnson want to play pretty a lot and don’t use their size to their advantage. They tend to go one on one and settle for a lot of jumpers. They didn’t have to do that a lot last night. They turned the Bulls over and over and then scored easy baskets. Bottom line, the Bulls do not score enough to turn the ball over at this rate against anyone and expect to win games in the NBA. The funny thing was I heard Head Coach Tom Thibodeau voicing his displeasure about how the Bulls were trying to thread the needle in the Knicks game Sunday. It shows the man knows what he was talking about because they were burned by it last night. Joakim Noah who had 14 assists against the Knicks had only one last night. What makes it more glaring was the team high six turnovers he had. Oops!
Speaking of Noah, he had no business playing last night. If anyone saw him roll his ankle against the Knicks will back me up. If the logo on the side of your shoe touches the floor, let me tell you from experience…that’s a sprain. A bad one. I know he wanted to play in front of his family and friends. I can respect that, believe me. But the Bulls chances in the playoffs land SQUARELY on his shoulders. They will not win two games in the postseason if this guy gets hurt. The man is just getting healthy now for foot problems that has dogged him all year. I know Joakim might read this and get mad, but if he does I want him to do something. I want him to sit back and think what would happen if he got hurt and was put on the shelf? Then take a look at your back-up…Nazr Mohammed. Point made. Joakim Noah may want to listen to a phrase that works good in this situation…work smarter, not harder.
As for the rest of the Bulls, as you read this take my advice, don’t light a match and pull out the Lysol because it stinks up in here. DJ Augustin scored 16 points to continue his solid scoring output off the bench. Taj Gibson had 12 points on 5-6 shooting. Hey Taj, here’s a thought…shoot more. After these two it gets ugly. Jimmy Butler scored 13 points on 4-11 shooting, 0-3 from the land of three and an awful 5-9 from the free throw line. Hey Jimmy stop shooting threes and work on your free throws. Please. Mike Dunleavy scored only eight points last night on 3-9 shooting. Again Pippen Peoples it’s important to gauge Dunleavy’s play to the success of the Bulls. If he shoots well, usually the Bulls win. If he doesn’t, well last night is a nice example of what happens to the Bulls.
This is for Kirk Hinrich. You were just voted player of the week by Ashley Wijangco, staff writer for Pippen Aint Easy. She wrote a nice piece about you and everything. Then you go out and play a clunker last night. I mean really, 2-7 for five points and three turnovers. Come on man!
Ah the Carlos Boozer report. Okay it’s mixed. Boozer scored ten points and grabbed 13 rebounds. That’s the good. The bad, he turned the ball over five times without an assist. Ugh!
The four game streak is history. The Bulls go to Motown next. They have the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday.